European Union and Norway raise funds for Palestine

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EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini pledged to continue funding the Palestinian Authority. File photo, 2017. (AP)

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said the group is trying to raise funds for Palestine after US President Trump threatened to cut off humanitarian aid.

The EU group has announced a significant fund for Palestine and will continue to support the Palestinian Authority and the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said on Wednesday, but the sum still falls short of replacing the US aid that US President Donald Trump has threatened to cut.

She stated that the EU just adopted a new $52.8 million package to help Palestine, adding that the Palestinians could continue to rely on the EU.

We will “continue our support for the Palestinian authority, continue our support for the UNRWA, work for the security of all, because we know, the more we can achieve progress on the ground, the more this can help prevent violence, and the more this can help also to resume a political process,” Mogherini told a news conference in Brussels alongside Ine Eriksen Soreide, Norway’s foreign minister, before an extraordinary session of the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee (AHLC) donor group.

Mogherini said that the basis and objective of the meeting was the two-state solution with Jerusalem as the future capital of both states – the state of Israel and the state of Palestine.

“Any framework for negotiations must be multilateral and must involve all players, all partners that are essential to this process,” she said.

Gaza humanitarian crisis 

She stressed that the political situation in Gaza is directly linked to the security situation in the entire region as well as the common fight against terrorism.

“The daily life of citizens [in Gaza] has been very difficult for too long and this despite large international humanitarian help including by the EU.”

She said the AHLC’s first-ever extraordinary meeting will be followed by a regular one in March.

Asked about US President Donald Trump saying he would soon unveil a new peace plan, Mogherini said they would not like the US to execute the peace process by itself, but also cannot think of a peace process excluding the country.

No lasting improvements without negotiations

Norway’s Soreide also said that no lasting improvements would be achieved without negotiations on the Palestine-Israel issue.

“[There is] the need for a sustainable economy that is absolutely essential for a future independent democratic Palestinian state,” she said.

The meeting is expected to be attended by Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah, Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki, Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, Israel’s Regional Minister Tzachi Hanegbi, Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman al-Safadi, and UNRWA Commissioner-General Pierre Krahenbuhl.

The AHLC, which coordinates international development aid to the Palestinian public, was founded in 1993 and consists of 15 members.

Among the sponsors of the committee are the EU, US, UN, the World Bank and  the International Monetary Fund.