The United States will pledge about $500 million for the Palestinian Authority government in the West Bank when Arab, European and other nations meet next week, U.S. officials said Friday.
The money would go toward a goal of $5.6 billion that former British prime minister Tony Blair hopes to raise to rescue the tattered Palestinian economy and reinforce institutions that would become the backbone of any eventual independent Palestinian state.
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will deliver the pledge at a conference Blair has called Monday in Paris, the officials said. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because the figure has not been announced and might be changed slightly.
The money is part of world efforts to improve the Palestinians' financial position as new U.S.-sponsored peace talks begin.
Rice cannot promise that she can deliver on the pledge, which must be approved by the U.S. Congress. The money includes about $400 million that the White House has already announced, but that has not been approved by Congress.
Some members of Congress are worried that money spent to strengthen the West Bank eventually could benefit a rival radical-led government in the other, separate, Palestinian territory of the Gaza Strip. Other legislators want greater assurance that the West Bank government has shed its long reputation for corruption and cronyism.
- GIVING ABBAS MORE MONEY - EVEN THOUGH HE'S ACCOMPLISHED NONE OF WHAT WAS REQUIRED BY THE "ROADMAP" - IS IDIOTIC.
BETWEEN WHAT THE HAMAS CROWD GETS FROM THE RICH IN THE UMMAH, AND WHAT ABBAS GETS FROM THE WEST, THESE PALIS HAVE QUITE A SHAKEDOWN RACKET, DON'T THEY!