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EU to Release Funds for Palestinians


The European Union is preparing to release substantial aid to the Palestinians facing a financial crisis after Israel stopped its monthly transfer of Palestinian tax revenues.

The EU's External Relations Commissioner, Benita Ferrero-Waldner, told reporters in Brussels Monday that she would announce a package of about $142 million to meet the basic needs of the Palestinians.

She said the package would include direct payment to Israel of the Palestinian Authority's energy bill as well as aid through United Nations relief agencies.

The EU - the largest donor to the Palestinian Authority - also joins the United States in demanding that Hamas renounce violence and accept Israel's right to exist as Hamas forms the next Palestinian government.

EU foreign ministers are to meet in Brussels Monday to discuss the situation.

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