US, Britain to raise more funds for Palestinians

Wednesday, December 19, 2007 |  by Staff Writer

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said at a press conference with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas in London on Tuesday that Britain and the US plan to jointly host an investors' conference in Bethlehem early next year in order to further swell the Palestinian Authority coffers.

The announcement came just one day after international peace envoy and former British Prime Minister put on a successful donors' conference in Paris that saw some 87 nations pledge $7.4 billion in economic aid to the Palestinians.

The US contribution to that pot was $555 million, offered in person by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. However, just hours later the US House of Representatives approved less than half that sum.

US congressional leaders remain wary of throwing taxpayers' dollars at the Palestinians in light of past corruption and a general failure to keep the funds out of terrorist hands. In 2007, Congress allowed the transfer of only $50 million in economic aid to the Palestinians after the Palestinian public overwhelmingly voted for the Hamas terrorist organization to run the government.

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