Arab ministers to meet in Cairo to discuss financial aid for PA - report

The meeting comes ahead of a U.S.-led economic conference in Bahrain expected to call for a $50 billion global investment fund for the Palestinians, Egypt, Jordan and Lebanon.

By REUTERS
June 23, 2019 00:53
2 minute read.
PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY PRESIDENT Mahmoud Abbas greets the audience during a ceremony in Ramallah

PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY PRESIDENT Mahmoud Abbas greets the audience during a ceremony in Ramallah on December 31, marking the 54th anniversary of Fatah’s founding. (photo credit: MOHAMAD TOROKMAN/REUTERS)

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analysis from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later

Arab finance ministers will hold an emergency meeting in Cairo on Sunday to discuss helping the Palestinian Authority cope with a deepening cash crunch amid a persistent dispute with Israel over payments to families of jailed and deceased militants.

The meeting comes ahead of a U.S.-led economic conference in Bahrain expected to call for a $50 billion global investment fund for the Palestinians, Egypt, Jordan and Lebanon which the Palestinian Authority is boycotting.

The Palestinian Authority sees the economic conference as an attempt to circumvent its demands for the creation of a Palestinian state in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip with East Jerusalem as its capital.

The Palestinian Authority has been struggling to pay civil servants salaries since February when Israel announced it was deducting five percent of the revenues it transfers monthly to the PA from tax collected on imports that reach the occupied West Bank and Hamas-run Gaza Strip via Israeli ports.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has refused to accept any of the tax revenues, which totalled 700 million shekels ($193 million) in January and which account for about half of the PA's budget, since the Israeli decision.

"This emergency meeting ... is being held in coordination with the Palestinian side to discuss providing the financial safety net to support the State of Palestine," Egyptian state news agency MENA quoted Arab League Assistant Secretary-General Hussam Zaki as saying.

Israel has said the five percent it deducts from Palestinian revenues represents the amount the PA pays to families of Palestinians jailed in Israel or killed while carrying out attacks or during clashes or other security offenses.

Palestinians see their slain and jailed as heroes of a national struggle but Israeli and U.S. officials say the stipends fan Palestinian violence and are scaled so relatives of prisoners serving longer sentences receive larger payments.

The Palestinian Authority said in March it was cutting civil servants' salaries by half. Only its lowest-earning employees, or the 40 percent of its workforce who earn 2,000 Israeli shekels or less a month, would be paid full salary, it said.

Zaki said the meeting was a follow-up to an Arab foreign ministers meeting held at the Arab League in Cairo in April in which they agreed to activate a $100 million financial safety plan for the Palestinians.

Palestinian Finance Minister Shukri Bishara said in March that PA will have to take bank loans of between $50 million to $60 million for the coming five to six months to weather the crisis.

The U.S. has cut all aid to the Palestinians, including $360 million it used to give to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian refugees, putting further pressure on Palestinian finances.

The cuts were widely seen as a bid by Washington to press the Palestinians to re-enter peace talks with Israel that collapsed in 2014.

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

A U.S. Air Force MQ-9 Reaper drone sits armed with Hellfire missiles and a 500-pound bomb
July 21, 2019
A mysterious drone attacked 'Iran-backed militia' in Iraq

By SETH J. FRANTZMAN

Cookie Settings