The Palestine News Network (PNN) reported the following notice of yet another grant to aid the Palestinian people against the US-led political and economic boycott. Whether it will reach the people is another question, as banks are still under threat if they facilitate any money transfers. This donation attempt comes from Kuwait.
"Kuwait, May 30th, 2006: Under the Chairmanship of H.E. Mr. Mourad Medelsi, Minister of Finance of Algeria, the Supreme Council of the Al Aqsa Fund confirmed US$ 100 million in support to the Palestinian people in the areas of: Education, health, infrastructure, economic development, social rehabilitation and cooperation with the private sector. The Fund reiterated its shareholders commitment to provide continued economic aid for Palestine from existing Al Aqsa Fund partners including sourcing out other new donors from OIC Member Countries and Civil Society during its 6th Annual General Meeting. The meeting held in Kuwait also reviewed the Annual Report and key highlights of last year’s fund performance which was presented by the Managing Committee of the Fund highlighting the Fund’s achievements for the year 2005.
"’ Our brothers and sisters in Palestine are in deep despair under the current economic condition which have reached horrific proportions. While our shareholders in the Al Aqsa Fund have provided essential aid at critical times it will take additional resources to provide support and facilitate the efforts that are underway to help Palestine out of its current crisis. We confirm our shareholders commitment to the People of Palestine with this new aid package including our resolve to seek new funding sources from other members of the OIC countries, civil society and the private sector to ensure we can meet the growing financial needs of the Palestinian people through the Al Aqsa Fund,’ said Mr. Medelsi.
"Dr. Mohamad Shtayyeh, Palestine’s Governor to the Islamic Development Bank expressed the Palestinian people’s appreciation for the efficient Management of the Fund and called upon the Arab and Moslem countries not to let the fund resources dry up.
"’The current crisis requires more engagement and the Fund mechanism already exists and can absorb the additional resources needed to support the Palestinian people during these trying times. The Al Aqsa Fund has made a dramatic difference in the lives of the Palestinian people; it has provided aid from Bread to Food Rationing to Education, Health Care and Trade Development. Most importantly, it has touched every life and across every sector in Palestine. However the crisis is more catastrophic than we could have ever expected. The needs of the Palestinian people are much more significant, beyond the current funding creating further despair and desperation for the people. The situation on the ground is extremely dynamic and as such needs and priorities can change suddenly. As such, we encourage the expansion of additional donor support through the Al Aqsa Fund,’ added Dr. Shtayyeh.
"Minister of Planning of the Palestinian Authority, H.E. Dr. Samir Abu Eisha, provided the meeting with a description of the funding needed by the Palestinian People during the current crisis. ‘We estimate that a total of US$1.8 billion is required immediately just to meet the basic needs of the people in the following areas: US$ 118 million for Public Sector support, US$ 300 million for essential services in health and education, US$ 100 million for emergency and humanitarian aid, US$ 113 million for social welfare and poverty alleviation, and US$ 230 million for job creation projects. We thank our donors for their continued support and encourage them to continue to support the people of Palestine through the Al Aqsa Fund,’ said Minister Abu Eisheh.
"The Palestinian delegation also made a presentation to the Board of Governors on the current economic crisis underway in the Palestinian Territories. The World Bank has recently published a report in which it warns that unemployment could jump from a pre-election level of 23% to about 40% and the proportion of people living in poverty would climb from 44% in 2005 to 67% if the crisis continues unsolved. The World Bank has also cautioned in its report that should the situation persist, a large scale humanitarian crisis is liable to erupt in the Palestinian Territories.
"The Al Aqsa Fund, Managed by the Islamic Development Bank, has managed a total of USD$ 813 million of funds in both relief support and development aid to the Palestinian people since its inception in 2000. The Fund has intervened in times of economic crisis in Palestine providing urgent aid; its portfolio assisted all sectors of Palestinian life in support of projects in agriculture, health, education, infrastructure, trade development, job creation and social welfare.
"The Al Aqsa Fund Supreme Council pledged to continue to explore ways to further expand the resources of the fund to meet the projected funding program for the years 2006/2007 from existing donors and countries of the OIC. Total financial commitment for projects identified in Palestine for Y2006 is estimated at USD$350 million.
"About Al Aqsa Fund:
"The Al Aqsa Fund was established with US$800 million pledged by the Arab League in 2000 to provide the Palestinian people with emergency and reconstruction assistance. The Al Aqsa Fund has a proven mechanism that can respond to crisis immediately while at the same time build sustainability in key sectors which include education, healthcare, infrastructure and agriculture. Shareholders now include Jordan, UAE, Bahrain, Algeria, Oman, Syria, Qatar, Kuwait, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, and Morocco. The Fund is managed by the Islamic Development Bank.
"The Fund is governed by a Managing Committee composed of senior government officials of the major donor countries, a representative of the League of Arab States and a representative of the PNA. The Committee reports to the Supreme Council of the Fund which comprises the Finance Ministers of the Donor countries, the secretary general of LAS and a representative of the PNA. The Islamic Development Bank (IDB) plays the role of Fund manager to leverage its technical capacity in identifying and evaluating projects in cooperation with the PNA in conformity with the donors’ proven procurement and disbursement procedures and best financial management standards."