ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 148

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Press release announcing assistance refers to 'Palestine'

EU approves $274 million in aid for Palestinians

Foreign affairs chief calls on Palestinian Authority to be ‘more transparent, more accountable, and more democratic’

European Union High Representative Federica Mogherini, right, shakes hands with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas prior to a meeting at the EU External Action Service building in Brussels on Monday, Oct. 26, 2015. (AP/Francois Walschaerts)
European Union High Representative Federica Mogherini, right, shakes hands with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas prior to a meeting at the EU External Action Service building in Brussels on Monday, Oct. 26, 2015. (AP/Francois Walschaerts)

The European Commission announced Tuesday that it has approved a new assistance package for the Palestinian Authority worth $274.1 million.

In a press release, the Commission said the aid was the first part of a 2016 package, $184 million of which is set to be funneled directly to the PA, with a focus on education and health services, support for hospitals in East Jerusalem, and assistance to poor families.

The remaining $89 million will go to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency in the Near East (UNRWA).

The statement said a second package will be announced later in the year.

“The European Union renews its concrete commitment to the Palestinians,” Federica Mogherini, the EU high representative for foreign affairs, said in a statement. “Through this package, the EU supports the daily lives of Palestinians in the fields of education and health, protecting the poorest families and also providing the Palestinian refugees with access to essential services. These are tangible steps on the ground that can improve the lives of Palestinian people.”

Mogherini called on the PA to “become more transparent, more accountable and more democratic” and uphold human rights, which she said is a prerequisite for the establishment of a sovereign Palestinian state “living side by side, in peace and security, with the State of Israel and other neighbors.”

While the press release refers to the Palestinian Authority as Palestine, it notes that the designation “shall not be construed as recognition of a State of Palestine and is without prejudice to the individual positions of the Member States on this issue.”

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