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France and Spain oppose suspending aid to Palestinian territories

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PARIS: France and Spain said on Tuesday (Oct 10) that they opposed the proposed suspension of European Union (EU) aid to Palestinian territories, after the EU said it was reviewing development help following Hamas’ attack on Israel. 

European Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement, Hungary’s Oliver Varhelyi had said on Monday on social media platform X that the support had already been suspended.

However, the European Commission contradicted Varhelyi’s statement, saying that payments were not suspended and that it was merely reviewing aid to Palestinian territories.

EU foreign ministers will meet to discuss the issue on Tuesday,

France is “not in favour of suspending aid which directly benefits the Palestinian populations”, the foreign ministry said, adding that it had “made this known to the EU Commission”.

Last year, France contributed 95 million euros (US$101 million) in aid to the Palestinians in Hamas-controlled Gaza, annexed east Jerusalem, the occupied West Bank run by the Palestinian Authority, and refugee camps in neighbouring countries.

“This aid is focused on supporting the Palestinian populations, in water, health, food security and education,” added the ministry.

Distributed through the United Nations, it “directly benefits the Palestinian people” and is “fully in line with the engagements of France”, the ministry added.

Meanwhile, Spain’s acting Foreign Minister Jose Manuel said on Tuesday that Palestinian territories will likely need more aid in the near future after Hamas’ Saturday attack on Israel and Israel’s subsequent bombardment of the Gaza Strip.

“This cooperation must continue, we cannot confuse Hamas, which is in the list of EU’s terrorist groups, with the Palestinian population, or the Palestinian Authority or the United Nations’ organisations on the ground,” Albares said in an interview with Spanish radio Cadena SER.

Even though countries such as Austria have announced the end of funding to Palestinian territories, others such as Spain consider the aid flow crucial for the civilian population.

Suspending aid would be “counterproductive”, Albares said.

Article was originally published from here

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