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International Donors Promise $500 Million in Palestinian Aid


International donors have pledged almost $500 million in aid for the Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories.

Sweden organized Friday's conference in Stockholm after the United Nations issued an emergency aid appeal.

But only 10 percent of the promised funds was earmarked for the U.N. effort, raising concerns the rest will go directly to the Palestinians' Hamas-led government.

The United States and European Union consider Hamas a terrorist group and cut off financial aid after it won elections earlier this year. Officials say 1.4 million Palestinians are suffering from unpaid civil salaries, reduced power and water supplies and unemployment.

Saudi Arabia pledged the largest amount at the conference, $250 million.

Mohammad Mustafa, an adviser to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, said it does not matter how the money is distributed "as long as it is assistance that gets to the people." He said the money pledged Friday would help save lives.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.

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