Last Updated: Tue Nov 02, 2010 17:49 pm (KSA) 14:49 pm (GMT)

Palestinians got $1.7 billion in aid in 2008

The aid given was $0.6 billion more than was promised at a donor conference held last December (File)
The aid given was $0.6 billion more than was promised at a donor conference held last December (File)

The international community has given $ 1.7 billion in aid to the Palestinian Authority over the last year, the French foreign ministry said Wednesday as Hamas gunmen stepped up rocket attacks in southern Israel wounding at least two people.

The aid given was $0.6 billion more than was promised at a major donor conference held last December in Paris, spokesman Frederic Desagneaux said.

At that conference, donors promised to provide $7.4 billion over three years, which was considerably more than the$ 5.6 billion the Palestinians had requested.

The donors agreed to allocate 1.1 billion dollars in the first year.

"Such payments above the promises made are the concrete sign of the exceptional engagement of the international community," Desagneaux said.

The conference agreed a package of aid to stabilize the Palestinian economy and try to shore up the faltering peace process with Israel.

Palestinian leaders said the money was needed for direct support to the budget to help develop a viable economy and institutions for a future Palestinian state.

Rocket fire

Palestinian militants in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip stepped up rocket attacks on southern Israel on Wednesday, wounding at least two people and raising tensions two days before a ceasefire was set to expire.

An Israeli army spokeswoman said militants fired at least 15 make-shift rockets into Israel, the highest one-day total this month.

Two Israelis in the border town of Sderot suffered light wounds when one of the rockets slammed into a parking lot, medical workers said.

Israel responded to the salvoes by launching an air strike into the Gaza Strip targeting a rocket launcher, the army said.

No Palestinian injuries were immediately reported.

Tensions along Israel's border with the Gaza Strip have soared as the days count down to the end of a six-month-old ceasefire between Hamas and the Jewish state on Friday.

Israel has sought to extend the Egyptian-brokered truce.

But Hamas Islamists, who seized control of the Gaza Strip in June 2007 after routing Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's secular Fatah group, have said they do not expect the truce with Israel to be extended.

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