Abid Anabtawi, a spokesman for the Follow Up Committee, which represents the Arab minority in Israel and organised the food drive, said aid trucks delivered rice, sugar, oil and flour to Israeli army checkpoints outside Jenin, Nablus, Tulkarm and other northern West Bank villages.

The aid was collected over the past two weeks after Anabtawi's organisation called on Arab Israelis to rally to the aid of Palestinians at a time when government employees have gone without pay for the past two months.

"Various Arab parties responded favourably to our appeal,"  Anabtawi said.
 
In addition to foodstuffs, the Israeli Arab Islamic Movement collected 1.3 million shekels ($288,000) to distribute to needy Palestinians.

There are 1.3 million Arabs living in Israel, just under 20% of the population. They are descendants of those Arabs who remained in Israel during the 1948 war, whose 58th anniversary was celebrated by Israelis and mourned by Palestinians last week.

The Palestinian Authority has seen its coffers run dry since Hamas won parliamentary elections in January.

Israel has compounded Palestinians' economic woes by refusing to turn over millions of dollars in tax revenues it collects for the Palestinian Authority, worth about $60 million a month.
  
The boycott has left the Hamas government unable to pay salaries in March and April, and created shortages of food, medicine and petrol.