Israel sends Palestinians over $1 billion in withheld funds: Minister
02 Dec 2020
Palestinian students take high school exams in a classroom in Gaza City. Image only for representation. File/Reuters
Gulf Today Report
Ramallah, Palestinian Territories: Israel has released more than $1 billion in funds withheld from the Palestinian Authority, a Palestinian minister said on Wednesday, weeks after coordination was renewed between the two sides.
"The #Israeli government transfers all financial dues of the clearance to the account of the #Palestinian Authority, amounting to three billion and 768 million shekels," Civil Affairs Minister Hussein al-Sheikh wrote on Twitter, referring to taxes, including customs taxes, that the Jewish state collects on behalf of the PA.
Earlier in the week, an Israeli official told AFP on condition of anonymity that the "security cabinet approved transferring the money to the PA", without specifying the amount.
Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh said on Monday the Palestinians were "entitled" to the funds, expected to relieve pressure on a Palestinian economy in the grips of a severe budgetary crisis.
Officials "will take everything they are owed. They have been patient for months and it's only a matter of a little more time to make everything clear," Shtayyeh said.
Deprived of this income, the PA had to cut the salaries of its civil servants, at a time when the Palestinian economy had begun grappling with the impact of the novel coronavirus pandemic.