The European Commission (EC) announced Saturday it would pay $US 9 million in aid to impoverished Palestinian households.

The EC said that the fund will be provided in the form of allowances for Palestinian households, with a total of $US 240 for each family. This fund is the third round of assistance offered by the temporary international assistance mechanism, set forth by the Quartet committee for promoting peace in the Middle East, through which 150,000 Palestinians have benefited so far.

According to the EC’s criterions, those who will be benefited through such a fund are the most deprived households; especially those headed by women or those which include persons with disabilities.

The Palestinian Ministry of Social Affairs used to supervise disbursement of these funds, yet due to the strangulating economic boycott of the Palestinian Authority, the ministry has made payments only once over the past twelve months.

In their meeting last Wednesday, representatives of the Quartet (United Nations, United States, European Union, Russia) decided to provide financial assistance to the Palestinian people through the temporary mechanism for the next three months, leaving the door open for possible more sustainable assistance.

The Palestinian poverty rate has risen to approximately 70%,  while unemployment has hit the highest records since major international donors such as United States and European Union have boycotted a Hamas-led government, following last January’s parliamentary elections.