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P.A. needs help to stay afloat

PRAGUE, Feb. 1 (JTA) — The Palestinian Authority gets roughly $1 billion a year from foreign donors, more than half its annual budget. The money is intended to pay civil servants and to keep basic services functioning, such as utilities and food aid. The Palestinian Authority is currently bankrupt, which countless observers from the United States and Europe attribute to the corruption of the Fatah Party, which has run the authority since 1994. The United States and Israel have criticized European Union for propping up the Palestinian Authority for more than a decade without Palestinian accountability or transparency. Last year, the European Union provided some $600 million for Palestinian Authority projects but withheld direct money to the Palestinian Authority due to concerns over corruption. The United States supplied $70 million in direct aid last year, and supplies much more in indirect aid through various non-governmental organizations and the United Nations. More than half of those living in the Palestinian territories exist below the poverty level, and unemployment is 22 percent.