Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh today strongly criticized the Israeli cuts from the funds destined for the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) treasury, warning that these cuts put the PA finances in a very difficult situation.
Speaking at the opening of the weekly cabinet meeting held in Ramallah, Shtayyeh described this month’s Israeli cut of more than $30 million from the funds it collects in taxes on goods destined for the Palestinian territories that enter through its ports as “illegitimate” and “illegal”.
“The continuation of these monthly deductions is a blatant violation of our rights and puts us in a very difficult financial situation and well weakens our capability to meet our financial needs and responsibilities towards our people,” said the prime minister.
He demanded that all the financial dues owed to the Palestinians, whether in taxes or fees collected at crossing points and in other forms be paid in full to the PA.
Israel said it had cut $30 million from the PA funds which are equivalent to what the PA pays in stipends for families of Palestinian freedom fighters killed or imprisoned by Israel.
The PA so far has not been able to pay last month’s salaries for its 180,000 public servants, citing financial difficulties. It said it is going to pay the salaries today, 10 days into the new month.
The PA has been relying on the tax revenues collected by Israel as well as international and Arab donor aid to meet its financial dues. Aid has almost come to zero this year, adding to the PA’s financial strains.