Palestinian officials have a feeling that the recent normalization agreements between Gulf states and Israel have led to a sudden decrease in funding from Arab states to the Palestinian Authority.
According to The New Arab and data from the Palestinian Finance Ministry service, Ramallah has received no aid from Arab countries since March, in addition to a 50% decrease in foreign aid.
Ramallah's total revenues dropped by about 70% this year.
The Palestinian government's funding dropped by half with respect to foreign aid in the first seven months of the year, from $500 million in 2019 to $255 million in 2020, dropping in Arab aid during the same period by 85% – from $267 million in 2019 to $38 million in 2020.
Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad Al-Maliki examined the reasons behind the sudden fall in funding in a press conference, claiming that "most of the Arab countries did not abide by the decisions of the Arab summits to provide a financial safety net of $100 million for Palestine in the face of US and Israeli sanctions."
This financial situation happened amid the coronavirus pandemic, but also during a period when normalization agreements, strongly opposed by Ramallah, were being negotiated between several Gulf states and Israel – strongly backed by the US.
US President Donald Trump told Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that he had "asked the rich Arab countries not to pay the Palestinians," according to Al-Araby Al-Jadeed.
"We do not know if this was the result of the financial repercussions of the coronavirus pandemic, or at the request of the United States, as President Trump said," added Al-Maliki.
"But the result is the same. Unfortunately these [Arab summit safety net] decisions have not been done nor implemented."
The financial crisis and the fall in Arab and foreign aid has forced the Palestinian Authority to increase its domestic borrowing and search for new sources of revenue.
Last June, European Parliamentarians called for a thorough investigation into how European taxpayers’ money is ending up in the hands of Palestinian terrorists, insisting that any loopholes in the law through which the money is slipping must be closed.
Hundreds of millions of euros are donated annually by the EU to the Palestinian Authority. Approximately 50 million euros each quarter are passed on by the PA to the Palestine Liberation Organization, which in turn finances organizations such as the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, which has carried out suicide attacks in Israel.“There is no terror financing from EU funds; as long as there are EU funds that will not be happening. This will not be tolerated, and if it happens, it will be rectified,” said EU enlargement commissioner Olivér Várhelyi. “And I will see it to it myself that it is done and delivered.”
Donna Rachel Edmunds contributed to this report.