France Donates for Palestinian Salaries

The French government announced on Monday that it would donate 10 million euros to the Palestinian Authority.  The announcement was made in New York during a meeting of the main donors to the Palestinians precisely to discuss support for that government.

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In a statement, the Foreign Ministry of France said this is the second donation of 10 million euros given to the Palestinians this year.  The first donation was in June, during a visit of the President of the Palestinian National Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, to Paris.  Since 2007, France has transferred 105 million euros in aid for the Palestinians.

This announcement by the French government comes after the Palestinian prime minister Salam Fayyad told reporters that his government was unable to pay employees because of Israel’s decision to halt revenue transfers after Fatah and Hamas inked a unity deal.  Israel argues that it needs to ensure that these funds will not be transferred to Hamas.

Another reason for the Palestinian’s several financial problems are that the Palestinian Authority planned its budget under extremely exaggerated expectations of foreign aid.  In addition to a sharp decline in international aid due to the global financial crisis, funds pledged by Arab states have by and large not been delivered.

According to French foreign ministry spokesman Bernard Valero in Paris, “At a moment when the financial situation of the Palestinian Authority is stretched, these funds are a contribution to the payment of government employees’ salaries.”

The grant was formalized between Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad and France’s Jerusalem consul-general Frederic Desagneaux in Ramallah on Monday in a signing ceremony.

In addition to the donation made to the Palestinians, France also agreed a loan of 152 million euros to Jordan.  According to Kuwait news agency, Kuna, this money will be used to finance the Jordanian budget deficit.

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