For the Palestinian People

Austrian Muslims have launched a fund-raising campaign for the Palestinian people worst hit by international aid freeze as Arab donations continued to help the Palestinian Authority survive the financial crunch.

For the Palestinian People

The "Let's Be Supporters for Our Besieged Brothers" campaign premises on donating one hundred euros per month for every Palestinian family through leaflets handed out in mosques, schools and predominantly Arab and Muslim areas.

"The campaign is an effort to help break the economic siege on the Palestinians," Hani Ibrahim of the Palestine Humanitarian Group in Austria told Friday, April 21.

"The 100 euros are really a nominal sum, but we hope it will be significant in the current crisis and that it will not be a burden on donors."

The new Palestinian government, which inherited not only an empty treasury but 1.7 billion dollars in debts, has been unable to pay thousands of civil servants because of aid cuts by the US and the EU.

Israel has also frozen the transfer of tax and customs receipts it collects on behalf of the Palestinian Authority, worth up to $50 million a month.

The Palestinian government needs $170 million a month, out of which $115 million goes to paying salaries.

Main Obstacle

Ibrahim said the Palestinian children are taking the burnt of the current financial crunch. (Reuters)

Ibrahim urged Muslim minorities in other European countries to follow suit as "such donations help improve the morale of the Palestinian people enormously."

"The Palestinian children are taking the brunt of this crisis as their fathers have not received salaries over the past three months," Ibrahim noted.

A UN report released Wednesday, April 19, warned that unemployment and poverty levels are set to sharply rise in the occupied Palestinian territories if the new Palestinian government failed to survive the current financial crisis.

The document said the Palestinian Authority employees could lose their incomes, raising the poverty level to 67 percent in 2006 and going as high as 74 percent by 2008.

Ibrahim thanked the Austrian government for facilitating aid transfer to the Palestinian territories.

"The Foreign Ministry is indeed forthcoming in resolving problems we come across; but the Israeli occupation is the main stumbling block to our effort," he said.

Islam, which was officially acknowledged in Austria in 1912, is considered the second religion in the country after Catholic Christianity.

Muslims are estimated at 400,000 in Austria, making up 4% of the country's 8 million population.

Arab Donations

Arab donations for the Palestinians, meanwhile, continued after a couple of Gulf and Middle East countries took the initiative earlier this week.

The Arab Monetary Fund (AMF) said Thursday, April 20, it will funnel about $50 million into projects to ease the hardships facing the Palestinians.

Qatar was the first Arab country to announce on Monday, April 17, giving $50 million in aid to the Palestinian Authority.

Iran also announced that it was giving $100 million in aid to the new Palestinian government, doubling the initial figure it pledged.

A source close to the delegation that accompanied Palestinian Foreign Minister Mahmoud Al-Zahar in his recent multi-leg Arab tour said Saudi Arabia intended to honor its 92-million-dollar pledge it made in the Arab summit in Khartoum, according to the London-based Al-Hayat newspaper.

Syria also set April 30 as a "day of solidarity" for making donations for the Palestinians.

The Arab League has raised up so far up to $71 million from an Arab grassroots donation call it voiced earlier this month, according to the Palestinian Authority.

The Itlaf Al-Kheir, which has up to 56 affiliate organizations in the Muslim world, has also launched a similar campaign, starting with Algeria.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16