World Bank giving Palestinians $64 million for state


JERUSALEM (JTA) — The World Bank said it will give the Palestinian Authority $64 million to build institutions in preparation for a state in two years.

The gift was announced Sunday during a high-level World Bank Group delegation fact-finding mission to the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

A day earlier, the mission had conducted site visits to the World Bank-supported development projects, including private enterprises, in the West Bank cities of Hebron and Bethlehem.

The delegation met Sunday in Ramallah with Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad and other Palestinian officials, and attended the launch of the multi-donor funded Municipal Development Program. A meeting also was scheduled with Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon.

“We are here primarily to discuss the Palestinian Authority’s efforts to improve public financial management and strengthen its fiscal position, two fundamental pillars of Prime Minister Fayyad’s plan for the establishment of a Palestinian state,” said World Bank Vice President Shamshad Akhtar, a leader of the delegation.

“Our discussions with the Government of Israel will focus on improvement of access to Gaza as a precondition for recovery and reconstruction," Akhtar said. "Many donors have emphasized to us that they are ready to significantly expand operations in Gaza if current access problems are resolved.”

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