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Palestinians Warn of Burst of Violence if Funds Run Short

A Palestinian protester throws a stone during a clash with the Israeli military in the West Bank village of Kabatiya, near Jenin, Feb. 5, 2016.

A Palestinian official warned Wednesday that the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem could "explode" if funds from international donors fell short this year.

Finance Ministry official Dana Erekat said he realized there is competition for scarce funds because of crises in Syria and Yemen and the refugee wave in Europe.

But he said a shortage of badly needed donations for the Palestinian areas could lead to a disaster.

"If we do not address the needs of these communities, the situation will explode in the way it has in the rest of the region," Erekat said. "This is precisely why donor support at this time is very, very critical."

Palestinian authorities and the United Nations are making a joint appeal for $571 million for 2016.

Much of the funds from international donors would go to food and other humanitarian relief for impoverished Palestinian neighborhoods, especially in Gaza, which is still struggling to rebuild after the 2014 war with Israel.

Poverty, a lack of school and job opportunities, alleged weak leadership and a dim outlook for peace are all contributing to Palestinian fury against Israelis.

Israel accuses Palestinian leaders of encouraging young people to react violently.