Associated Press
December 7, 2009 - 1:00am,7340,L-3816006,00.html

The World Bank has given $64 million to the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank to help it prepare for statehood.

Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad signed the agreement on Sunday. World Bank official Shamshad Akhtar says the goal is to boost Fayyad's plan to set up institutions for a state within two years, though talks with Israel are stalemated.

A World Bank delegation visiting the West Bank and Gaza Strip will also look for ways to ease entry of construction materials into Gaza.

Last winter Israel launched a three-week military offensive there to stop daily rocket fire, causing widespread destruction. Israel refuses to let building materials into Gaza, fearing they would end up in the hands of Gaza's Hamas rulers.


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