Saudi Arabia promised Wednesday to transfer $100 million to the financially struggling Palestinian Authority, days after the PA pleaded with Arab states to pony up on previous pledges.
The European Union also confirmed it would transfer 100 million euros to the cash-strapped PA in order to cover the costs of officials’ salaries.
PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad told reporters last week that the authority’s cash crunch has gradually worsened in recent years, reaching a point where the government is unable to pay the salaries of most government employees. On Sunday, he told reporters that the situation may push more than 1.5 million of 4 million Palestinians into poverty.
In recent months, Arab states pledged to provide the PA with a $100 million monthly safety net, but have failed to follow through on the promise, Fayyad said.
The Palestinian Authority employs some 150,000 people, including civil servants and members of the security forces. About 60,000 employees live in Gaza and continue to draw salaries even though they were replaced by Hamas loyalists after the terror group took control of the Strip in 2007.
In recent days, Palestinian Authority employees took part in large demonstrations and strikes in the West Bank to protest the withholding of their wages.
Israel has withheld monthly transfers of tax revenues it collects on the PA’s behalf as punishment for the Palestinians’ November UN statehood bid. While the Palestinians blame the stalled cash for its financial crisis, Israel says the withheld money is being used to pay debts owed by the PA to Israeli companies.