Palestinians note sharp drop in funding from Arab states

Palestinians note recent sharp drop in Arab state funding. Could normalisation be the cause?
2 min read
23 September, 2020
The Palestinian Authority suspects normalisation and pressure from US President Donald Trump has led to a lack of Arab funding to Palestine.
Palestinians reject normalisation [Getty]
Palestinian officials suspect that a sudden decrease in funding from Arab states to Palestine could be linked to recent normalisation deals agreed between Gulf states and Israel.

According to data from the Palestinian finance ministry,  Ramallah has received no aid from Arab countries since March, according to The New Arab's Arabic-language service. 

This, along with a 50 percent decrease in foreign aid, has led to a total decline in revenues for Ramallah by about 70 percent. 

The data said that the Palestinian government received roughly $255 million in direct external support for the first seven months of 2020, which is a decrease of around $500 million in the corresponding period of 2019.

The total Arab aid given to the Palestinian Authority in the first seven months of 2020 was $38 million, down by 85 percent from the same period in 2019, which was $267 million.

All of this happened amid the coronavirus pandemic, but also during a period when normalisation agreements - strongly opposed by Ramallah - were being hammered out between a number of Gulf states and Israel, with strong US backing.

US President Donald Trump told Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu that he had "asked the rich Arab countries not to pay the Palestinians", according to Al-Araby Al-Jadeed.

In a press conference, Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad Al-Maliki discussed the reasons behind the sudden fall in funding. 

"Most of the Arab countries did not abide by the decisions of the Arab summits to provide a financial safety net of $100 million for Palestine in the face of US and Israeli sanctions," he said.

"We do not know if this was the result of the financial repercussions of the coronavirus pandemic, or at the request of the United States, as President Trump said. But the result is the same, unfortunately these decisions have not been done nor implemented."

The financial crisis and the fall in Arab and foreign aid has prompted the Palestinian Authority to increase its pace of domestic borrowing and search for new sources of revenue.

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