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Arab League Calls for More Aid to Palestinians

The Arab League called on its member states to offer more financial aid to the Palestinians in response to a report that the United States has frozen $200 million in assistance.

Britain’s Independent newspaper over the weekend wrote that the U.S. Congress had withheld the aid for food, health care and state building as a result of the Palestinians’ statehood bid last month at the United Nations. The U.S. fiscal year ended Sept. 30, meaning that the remaining money pledged to the Palestinian Authority for the year will not be transferred, Haaretz reported.

The Arab League on Sunday called on the Arab states in the region to replace that missing aid with their own donations.

“The Arabs will assist the Palestinian Authority,” Arab League head Nabil al-Arabi said Sunday in Cairo after a meeting with chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat. “This will be the strongest answer” to the U.S. cuts.

Erekat said that “The Palestinian people refuse to allow economic aid to become an instrument of blackmail regarding its rights to membership of the United Nations.”

The U.N.’s Security Council is now considering the PA’s statehood bid, which the United States has said it will veto. The U.S. Congress had threatened to withhold aid from the PA if it went ahead with the unilateral bid rather than negotiating with Israel.

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