Arab League pledges $100 million a month to budget-stricken Palestinians
search

Arab League pledges $100 million a month to budget-stricken Palestinians

Money promised by diplomats meant to offset $138 million in monthly deductions withheld by Israel over PA payments to terrorists and their families

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas (C) is greeted upon his arrival at the Arab League headquarters in the Egyptian capital Cairo, to discuss the latest developments in the Palestinian territories on April 21, 2019. (MOHAMED EL-SHAHED / AFP)
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas (C) is greeted upon his arrival at the Arab League headquarters in the Egyptian capital Cairo, to discuss the latest developments in the Palestinian territories on April 21, 2019. (MOHAMED EL-SHAHED / AFP)

CAIRO, Egypt — The Arab League on Sunday pledged $100 million per month to the Palestinian Authority to make up for funds withheld by Israel because of payments made to the families of Palestinian attackers and prisoners.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas addressed the Arab League in Cairo on Sunday as part of a diplomatic effort to rebuff the Trump administration’s Middle East peace plan, which American officials indicate could be released this summer.

Abbas said, “The Arabs need to be engaging actively at this critical time.”

He used his speech to appeal to Arab states to assist the Palestinians in overcoming a major budgetary shortfall.

“A [financial] safety net must be provided,” Abbas said.

Israel announced in February that it would withhold $138 million in monthly payments to the PA to offset the PA’s payments to Palestinians jailed by Israel for terrorism and violence, and to the families of dead terrorists.

The Palestinians have protested the law, refusing to receive any of the taxes Israel gathers for them on a monthly basis, as long as the Jewish state does not transfer them their full amount.

The taxes Israel collects and transfers to the PA make up hundreds of millions of shekels, more than half of its monthly budget.

Palestinians protest against a government tax hike in Ramallah, West Bank, December 12, 2018. (Luke Tress/Times of Israel)

France sent an official letter to Israel last week, urging Israel to “change your decision to freeze the transfer of tax funds to the Palestinian Authority,” Israel’s Channel 12 news reported on Sunday. Israel rejected the request as immoral and against the EU’s own laws.

PA Finance Minister Shukri Bishara announced recently that Ramallah had undertaken a a series of austerity measures to mitigate against the impact of the lack of funds on government operations, including the slashing of public employee salaries.

In March, many PA employees received only half of their salaries.

The World Bank warned last week of an economic crisis, if the issue is not resolved.

Adam Rasgon contributed to this report.

Join us!
A message from the Editor of Times of Israel
David Horovitz

The Times of Israel covers one of the most complicated, and contentious, parts of the world. Determined to keep readers fully informed and enable them to form and flesh out their own opinions, The Times of Israel has gradually established itself as the leading source of independent and fair-minded journalism on Israel, the region and the Jewish world.

We've achieved this by investing ever-greater resources in our journalism while keeping all of the content on our site free.

Unlike many other news sites, we have not put up a paywall. But we would like to invite readers who can afford to do so, and for whom The Times of Israel has become important, to help support our journalism by joining The Times of Israel Community. Join now and for as little as $6 a month you can both help ensure our ongoing investment in quality journalism, and enjoy special status and benefits as a Times of Israel Community member.

Become a member of The Times of Israel Community
read more:
comments