JEDDAH, 26 August — Twelve Arab donor countries have paid 80 percent of their outstanding contributions to the two funds established by an Arab summit for the support of the intifada, according to Dr. Ahmad Muhammad Ali, president of the Islamic Development Bank which supervises the funds.
Speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat, a sister publication of Arab News, he disclosed that there is a balance of $107.64 million in the Al-Quds Fund and $430.57 million in the Al-Aqsa Fund, bringing the total to $538.2 million.
“What remains to be paid by the donor states constitutes only $22 percent of the total amount,” he explained.
Dr. Ali highlighted the financial needs of the Palestinian people as they confront the Israeli enemy.
“The two funds will not be enough to meet all their needs,” he said, and added that more efforts should be made to support the Palestinians to enable them to face their formidable enemy.
He said seven countries have paid their full offers. They are Syria ($7 million), Algeria ($30 million), Kuwait ($150 million), Jordan ($2 million), Bahrain ($3 million), Qatar ($50 million) and Oman ($10 million).
Saudi Arabia has given $200 million from a total of $240 million, while Egypt paid $20 million from $30 million, the United Arab Emirates $92 million from $150 million and Yemen $2 million from $10 million. He said the Saudi government has informed the bank that it will pay the remaining amount next month.
He refuted the allegations leveled against him by some members of the Palestinian Authority that he was delaying payments to the two funds.
“We don’t have the authority to distribute the money. We are authorized by the Arab summit only to set out the mechanisms and principles for the smooth functioning of the two funds,” he insisted.
Dr. Ali said the authority of distributing money from the two funds was in the hands of the donor countries. He said the bank gave money to support the PA’s budget on recommendation of an Arab foreign ministers’ committee.
“When the Israelis stopped payment of the PA’s dues the follow-up committee comprising foreign ministers decided to give the authority loans from the Al-Aqsa fund,” he said.
The IDB chief said there was no delay in paying financial assistance to the families of Palestinian martyrs or to the Palestinian Health Ministry and Red Crescent Society, and clarified: “We have started paying them soon after receiving the money.”
The PA has so far received loans worth $251 million from the two funds.
The IDB cooperates with the two funds to carry out certain projects in Palestine. The bank has contributed $1 million to a $10 million project for financing Palestinian universities. The bank has also presented a memorandum to the OIC foreign ministers meeting in Bamako urging other Islamic countries to disclose their financial contributions to the two funds.