The European Union offered to aid the Palestinian Authority if the peace process advances; the aid is intended to rebuild the Gaza Strip after Israel withdrew from the area.

European Commissioner for External Relations, Ms. Benita Ferraro-Waldner, said that if the Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip advances the implementing the Road Map plan, the EU will offer more aid.

“We must not let the chance created by Gaza withdrawal slip through our fingers. As the biggest donor to the Palestinians, the EU is determined to pull its weight, in facing up to the new opportunities and challenges post-disengagement”, Waldner said, “The strategy I have presented today sets out the tasks we can undertake, and under what conditions such assistance can bear fruit. I hope that this approach will be endorsed by Member States so that we can maximize our impact together”.

Also, Waldner added that the commission is ready to ask the European Parliament and the Council to mobilize additional community resources, to the Palestinians, in addition to donations by other donors.

The EU specified 250 million Euros in aide to the Palestinians in 2005, the sum includes 60 million for reviving the Palestinian economy, and to aide other institutions specified by the E.U.

James Wolfensohn, former head of the World Bank, and the special envoy of the Quartet demanded the international community to increase its aid to the region.

The EU asked the governments of the union to aid the Palestinians in establishing their state, and to aid the P.A in order to implement law and order in its areas.

“This is an important issue”, Waldner stated, “Political and administrative reforms are needed, the Palestinian areas have to enjoy a viable economic system in order to survive”.