The European Union is to boost by at least 25 million dollars its aid to the Palestinian Authority (PA), and could go as high as 75 million, the head of the EU's executive said Tuesday, DPA reported.
The EU is already the biggest international donor to the Palestinian territories, and is keen to support the PA as part of its efforts to secure peace in the Middle East.
"We can announce additional funds today. At this stage, I can confirm an additional 20 million euros (25 million dollars) while we explore further the possibility of an additional 40 million euros," the president of the European Commission,
Jose Manuel Barroso, said after talks with Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad.
Much of the aid is expected to go towards providing basic services, such as health care, education and fresh water, to the people of the West Bank and of the Gaza Strip.
The extra money "will be enormously helpful to us to be able to fulfil our obligations to our people ... There is a dire need to invest heavily in those areas and we are therefore grateful for the additional funding," Fayyad said.
Israel placed the Gaza Strip under siege in 2006 following the kidnapping of an Israeli soldier, and tightened its grip in 2007 after radical movement Hamas seized power in the area.
The siege shot to the top of the international agenda at the end of May after Israeli troops killed nine Turkish activists on an aid flotilla which was trying to run the blockade. Israel subsequently loosened its embargo on the zone.
But Barroso said that "improving the economic situation in the Gaza Strip is not simply a matter of letting in aid but revitalizing the economy," calling on Israel to open more crossings into Gaza.