|World Bank Chief Backs Continued Palestinian Aid|
| Paul Wolfowitz, president of the World Bank, said yesterday that the Bank should continue delivering aid to the West Bank and Gaza in spite of last week's electoral victory for the militant Islamic organization Hamas, reports The Financial Times.|
Wolfowitz said the Bank was operating in Palestinian areas at the request of the "quartet" of the US, the United Nations, Russia and the European Union. "What we do now depends on what the quartet asks us to do," he said. "I hope they will ask us to stay." The Bank chairs the committee of donors for the West Bank and Gaza, which disburses about $1bn a year. The EU, which is the largest single donor, recently suspended some of the aid that was funneled directly into the budget of the Palestinian Authority (PA) in protest at financial mismanagement.
Donors have been warning Hamas since the election that the aid could be withheld or delivered through other routes if the organization did not renounce violence and recognize Israel's right to exist. Wolfowitz said that keeping aid flowing would help the transition to the creation of a Palestinian state alongside Israel and keep up pressure for Palestinian reform.