$50m aid passed to Abbas

The Arab League has transferred about $50 million to the Palestinians, the first funding since international aid was cut off after the Hamas won legislative elections, officials say.

    Mahmoud Abbas will control the funds

    Saudi Arabia was also expected to transfer another $50 million to the Palestinian Authority soon, the Arab League said.

    Nabil Shaath, an aide to Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, said the Arab aid money bypassed the Hamas government and was transferred directly to Abbas on Monday.

    The Palestinian president will control how the funds are spent, he said.

    The EU, the US and other donors froze hundreds of millions of dollars in direct aid to the Palestinian government after Hamas won elections in January, demanding that the group recognise Israel and cease all support of terrorism.

    Since March, Arab states have collected more than $100 in aid for the Palestinians, but the money could not be transferred because international banks refused to allow the Arab League to transfer funds electronically to Palestinian territories, fearing sanctions from the US, which labels Hamas a terror group.

    Hope rekindled

    Speaking to reporters after a meeting with Amr Moussa, the Arab League secretary-general, Shaath said the organisation had transferred half of the $100 million and Saudi Arabia planned to transfer the other half later in the day.

    "This is a glimpse of hope ... and a step toward squeezing-out of the siege," Shaath said.

    Moussa said the Hamas-led government had had knowledge of the transfer. "The transfer was in complete co-ordination with the Palestinian government," he said

    Shaath and Moussa did not specify how the funds were transferred to the Palestinian Authority on Monday, or where the money had come from.

    The Hamas government, nearly bankrupted by the sanctions, has resorted to bringing cash into the occupied territories in suitcases to try to stay afloat.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Survivor stories from Super Typhoon Haiyan

    Survivor stories from Super Typhoon Haiyan

    The Philippines’ Typhoon Haiyan was the strongest storm ever to make landfall. Five years on, we revisit this story.

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    We Are Still Here: A Story from Native Alaska

    We Are Still Here: A Story from Native Alaska

    From Qatar to Alaska, a personal journey exploring what it means to belong when your culture is endangered.