The focus here is on the West Bank and Gaza Strip between 1993 and 1996 and how 'neutral' humanitarian relief and development aid has been provided against a background of regional and local political instability and the Palestinian Authority, which lacks the structures and infrastructure of a formal state. The fragmentation of the UN system and its agencies creates problems on the donors' side. The author looks at the performance of UNRWA and UNDP and the World Bank as they cope with local recipient structures often ill-equipped to absorb and administer funds. Coordination remains both the key to and the weak link in multilateral aid. By August 1996, USD 2.2 billion had been committed to the two areas. Success with coordination and disbursement would help provide local political stability.