The European Commission authorized the transfer of the first assistance package to the Palestinian Authority this year on Tuesday, March 1 as a continuation of its annual commitment to providing significant financial assistance to the Palestinian Authority. The financial assistance amounts to a total of EUR 252.5 million.
“The European Union renews its concrete commitment to the Palestinians,” said EU High Representative for Foreign Policy and Security Affairs Federica Mogherini.
Mogherini said that the assistance package is geared towards helping the lives of individual Palestinians, including those living in refugee camps.
“Through this package, the EU supports the daily lives of Palestinians in the fields of education and health, protecting the poorest families, and also providing the Palestinian refugees across the country with access to essential services,” added Mogherini.
A certain amount of the assistance package will also reportedly be set aside for Palestinian hospitals in Jerusalem.
Mogherini argued that while the EU assistance package is a significant boost and benefit to the Palestinians, it is insufficient in and of itself to truly improving the lives of Palestinians.
“These are tangible steps on the ground that can improve the lives of Palestinian people, but these steps are not enough,” Mogherini contended. “Palestinian institutions must continue to grow stronger, become more transparent, more accountable, and more democratic.”
“Viable and inclusive institutions based on respect for the rule of law and human rights are crucial in view of the establishment of an independent and sovereign Palestinian state,” continued Mogherini. “What we want to achieve is the establishment of an independent and sovereign Palestinian state living side by side in peace and security with the State of Israel and other neighbors.”
The European Union has provided support for Palestinian Authority institutions on many occasions in an effort to enforce the rule of law. It most recently helped sponsor a number of new Palestinian Authority police stations.
The EU reaffirmed its determination to help create a Palestinian state within Judea, Samaria, and Gaza with such assistance packages intended to further lay the foundation for an eventual Palestinian state.
“The EU remains firm in its commitment to Palestinians and actively supports a two-state solution,” stressed Commissioner for European Neighborhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn.
“Our assistance to ensure the functioning of the Palestinian Authority and to support vulnerable Palestinian groups, including Palestinian refugees, is a concrete example of this commitment,” Hahn added.
The Palestinian Authority will receive a direct transfer of EUR 170.5 million. The remaining EUR 82 million will be given to UNRWA, a UN organization created to provide support for Palestinian refugees as well as descendants of the Palestinian refugees who lost their homes during Israel’s War of Independence in 1948.