International donors meeting in
This comes amid warnings about the deteriorating humanitarian conditions in the Palestinian territories and an irreversible unraveling of the economy unless
While Palestinian officials were optimistic that the 90 participant countries and organizations attending the one-day Conference of Donors for a
Samir Abdallah, the Palestinian planning minister, said that he expected "full support" for the Palestinians' $5.6bn aid request.
"I think that all signs coming from here and there tell us that we get full support," he told the AP news agency in
The German and the British governments have put aside a combined $780 million, while the
The Palestinians will face a challenge convincing the West to provide aid to both the
Meanwhile, the UN has urged donors to raise $462m to meet humanitarian needs in the Palestinian territories in 2008.
"In addition to continuing fatalities from direct Israeli-Palestinian conflict, 2007 saw a dramatic increase in deaths and injuries due to internal Palestinian violence," a statement released by about 40 UN organizations and non-governmental groups operating in the Gaza Strip and West Bank said.
"The poverty rate stands at 57 per cent and food insecurity affects 34 per cent of the population."
On Thursday, the World Bank asked
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), on Friday, also condemned
"The Palestinian territories face a deep human crisis, where millions of people are denied their human dignity. Not once in a while, but every day," the ICRC said.
In addition, more than 700 checkpoints and roadblocks cover all areas of the
So far only
Salam Fayyad, the Palestinian prime minister and a former International Monetary Fund economist, has been actively campaigning to convince Palestinians at home and international donors that the government has established a transparent accountability system to stem mismanagement and corruption.
He says that he is doing his best not to disappoint the donors, who have seen more than $10bn in aid largely go to waste since 1993 because of mismanagement and Israeli attacks.
Fayyad has already won the support of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a three–year economic plan that includes promises to trim the oversized public payroll and reduce hundreds of millions of dollars in utility subsidies.
The IMF has said that the plan is ambitious, but achievable.
The plan being presented aims to assure donors that they are not expected to prop up the Palestinian Authority indefinitely, even though the bulk of the aid, $3.9 billion, would go towards the government's budget deficit.
The balance is to shift gradually to development projects, under a scenario that has
Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, however, would have to dispel fears among Palestinians about the Gaza Strip being excluded from getting aid.
In statements prior to their departure to