The Palestinian Authority will be giving 6 million shekels in financial aid to Palestinian universities this month, in addition to the funds normally distributed, the interim prime minister announced Saturday. Rami Hamdallah said that \"Through this step, we aim to support and empower universities to continue their mission in light of the current financial crisis.\" Some 3 million shekels were distributed as general financial aid to the universities, while another 3 million shekels were given to support research. \"We encourage research for the importance it holds in developing and improving the learning process in the Palestinian territories,\" Hamdallah added. The government earlier this month provided 11 million shekels of financial support to Palestinian universities. \"We will try to continue the support in the coming period despite the financial crisis caused by the insufficiency of aid from donor countries, as well as by the Israeli occupation which steals the resources of Palestinians and obstructs the development of Palestinian economy on its way to achieve sustainable development,\" added Hamdallah. The aid distribution follows weeks of protests at Birzeit University by students opposed to a rise in tuition suggested by university authorities. The protests shut down the university and delayed the start of the fall semester. A compromise was reached on Sept. 28, and classes subsequently commenced. Cuts to the Palestinian Authority budget have led to a fewer funds available to Palestinian academic institutions like Birzeit University, and as a result university authorities have been scrambling to find alternative sources of funding.