The Palestinian Authority is still waiting on promised emergency funds from Arab states to cover the government’s shortfall, which has been caused partially by Israel’s withholding of Palestinian tax revenues.
The Arab League pledged in early December to provide the PA with $100 million to cover salaries and expenses. However, the League’s undersecretary for Palestinian affairs told the Ma’an News Agency on Friday that none of that money had been transferred to the PA, and that no date had been set for any such transfers from Arab states.
Officials in Ramallah claim that the Palestinian economy is on the verge of collapse, following Israel’s refusal to release NIS 450 million in tax revenues (some $120 million), a measure taken by the Israeli government on the heels of last month’s UN vote to recognize “Palestine” as a non-member observer state.
Israel says that it will use the Palestinian tax revenues to offset the PA’s existing debt, in the amount of NIS 700 million to the Israel Electric Corporation.
On Tuesday, Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman said the Israeli government would decide in four months’ time what to do with the collected funds. “The Palestinians can forget about getting even one cent in the coming four months,” he said.
PA President Mahmoud Abbas has threatened to take action against the Israeli government at the International Criminal Court if the tax revenues are not released.