Israel’s checkpoints in the West Bank and blockade of Gaza are preventing an economic recovery there and limiting the impact of international aid. An international donors’ conference in December pledged more than USD 7 billion in aid to the government of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to try to reinforce its authority as it tries to negotiate a peace deal with Israel in US-backed talks. After a meeting on July 7 to monitor the aid effort, Blair, French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner and European Union External Relations Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner said the international effort’s impact would be limited if Israel’s roadblocks remained in place. (Reuters)

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