PA: Donor Aid at Risk in Global Financial Crisis

Some donor countries may stop their financial aid to the Palestinian Authority because of the global economic crisis, PA Minister of Economy Hassan Abu Libdeh said Saturday.

Abu Libdeh said the PA’s economy was small, isolated and had weak foreign trade, and so it was not directly affected by the global crisis.

However, while the economy was at risk of losing donor aid as governments tightened their budgets, Israel’s occupation remained the biggest obstacle to the growth of the Palestinian economy, Abu Libdeh said.

"If Israel were to lift only 10 percent of its restrictions on the Palestinian economy, it would represent an income higher than our monthly needs," he told AFP.

"If Israel lifted its restrictions on agriculture, the contribution of agriculture to national income would be multiplied by eight."

The World Bank warned recently that the Palestinian economy was still lacking a "vibrant private sector," something it said could not be altered "while Israeli restrictions on access to natural resources and markets remain in place."

The West Bank government has been warning for months that it faces an impending financial crunch because of the failure of donors, especially Arab countries, to fulfill their financial commitments.

In June, government employees only received half their salaries, and the PA said it was forced to direct money away from other ministries in order to pay July salaries.

The European Union announced Tuesday that it would contribute €22.5 million to help the PA pay July salaries and pensions for around 83,000 Palestinian public service workers and pensioners.

Asked about ministers’ salaries, Abu Libdeh said the president received the highest wage of $10,000 monthly.

PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad was paid $4,000 each month and ministers received a monthly salary of $3,000, he said.

(Ma’an News)

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