Arab League Pledges $100 Million Monthly in Financial Aid to the Palestinian Authority

Arab League makes announcement in emergency meeting requested by Palestinians two days before the U.S.-sponsored Bahrain conference

Jack Khoury
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Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas speaks at the Arab League headquarters, Cairo, April 21, 2019.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas speaks at the Arab League headquarters, Cairo, April 21, 2019.Credit: Amr Nabil,AP
Jack Khoury

The Arab League announced Saturday that it will be granting the Palestinian Authority financial aid totaling $100 million a month. The declaration was made at an emergency meeting of the league members states’ finance ministers in Cairo, two days before the U.S.-sponsored Bahrain conference.

According to the announcement, Arab countries will supply the needed funds either by transferring money directly into the PA’s accounts or by going through the Arab League. Some of the aid will take the form of grants, while the rest will be loans on easy terms that will help the PA implement infrastructure and development projects.

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The debate in Cairo was held at the PA’s request, in light of its grave financial situation. Its economic troubles were exacerbated when the PA decided to refuse taxes collected by Israel, after Israel had deducted sums equivalent to what the PA pays terrorist prisoners and their families.

PA Finance Minister Shukri Bishara said Sunday that the authority appealed to the Arab states to fix the situation, and had asked for $155 million a month in financial assistance in order to ensure the authority can continue to function.

In recent years the Arab League has made several similar decisions, but not all of them were implemented. At the last Arab League summit in February in Tunis, the Arab states approved a resolution to supply the PA with an economic safety net, but no money has been forthcoming.

Over the weekend, the White House issued the economic portion of the Trump peace plan, based on setting up an international fund that will invest $50 billion dollars in projects to improve the Palestinian and neighboring Arab state economies. Most of the money, $28 billion, is to be invested directly in the West Bank and Gaza, with the rest to be invested in projects in Jordan, Egypt and other countries in the region. The plan proposes constructing an access road and a rail line that would connect the West Bank and Gaza through Israeli territory.