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Thursday, 25 April, 2002, 03:01 GMT 04:01 UK
Palestinians seek large aid package
Man carries bread through Jenin camp ruins
$500m are needed to rebuild what Israel destroyed
The Palestinians are seeking more than $1bn in emergency and other aid at a meeting of international donors in Norway on Thursday.

Norwegian Foreign Minister Jan Petersen said experts would map out emergency needs for the Palestinians in the wake of the onslaught by the Israeli army.

We're talking about the loss of buildings, houses, water, connections... electricity, roads

Palestinian Minister Nabil Shaath
They would also reassert support for the embattled Palestinian Authority.

However the Palestinians say there have been no guarantees from Israel it would not destroy again any infrastructure that was rebuilt.

Representatives from 21 countries are attending the one-day talks in Oslo including the US, Russia and the European Union.

Military damage

Palestinian Planning Minister Nabil Shaath said the World Bank had estimated that the Palestinian needed about $1.7bn in aid for 2002, to help stabilise the economy.

He hoped the meeting would pledge the outstanding $800m, the remainder having already been promised by Arab states.

In addition, the three weeks of Israeli military operations had caused damage estimated at $500m, and this was needed immediately.
Palestinian woman watches Israeli tank in Bethlehem
Israel launched its military offensive in the West Bank on 29 March

"We're talking about the loss of buildings, houses, water, connections. We're talking about property, about electricity, roads, private homes," Mr Shaath said.

The Norwegian foreign minister said he had called the meeting about six weeks ago, when he had hopes of a breakthrough from US Secretary of State Colin Powell's visit.

Norway leads a group known as the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee which was set up shortly after the 1993 Oslo accords were negotiated between Israel and the Palestinians after months of secret talks.

See also:

20 Mar 02 | Middle East
Eyewitness: Bite of the blockade
26 Sep 01 | issues
Palestinians count the cost
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