EU will give 85m. euros to PA to make up for frozen funds

Following Israeli decision to block transfer of tax funds collected on behalf of Palestinian Authority, EU says it will help Palestinians pay salaries.

PA Prime Minister Fayyad with EU Catherine Ashton 311 (R) (photo credit: REUTERS/Thierry Roge)
PA Prime Minister Fayyad with EU Catherine Ashton 311 (R)
(photo credit: REUTERS/Thierry Roge)
BRUSSELS - The European Union said on Friday it would provide an extra 85 million euros ($124 million) to the Palestinian Authority to help pay salaries of essential workers and to support vulnerable families.
The move was decided on after Israel on Sunday blocked the transfer of $105 million in customs duties and other levies it collects on behalf of the Palestinian Authority, following a deal to reunite the two rival Palestinian wings.
'If Israel halts tax money, PA will push for state earlier'
A European Commission statement said the EU funds were being advanced under an accelerated procedure at the request of Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad to meet urgent financial needs.
The statement said 45 million euros would go towards salaries and pensions of vital workers, mainly doctors, nurses and teachers. A further 40 million would go to social allowances to vulnerable Palestinian families.
"It is important that access to essential public services remains uninterrupted and the right to social services is respected," EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said.
The EU funds are in addition to 100 million euros already approved for 2011.
The money will be channelled through an EU mechanism which has provided 762 million euros in support to the Palestinian Authority since 2008, in addition to 276 million from EU states.
Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz on Friday said that Israel will not accept a "terrorist Palestinian government" that on one side speaks of peace, and on another side continues to arm itself with money transferred to it by Israel, in an interview with Israel Radio.
Steinitz added that all bodies of the Palestinian government, including Hamas, must accept the conditions set by the Quartet, noting that the West supports the demand.
The chief demands made by Israel on the Palestinian government are to recognize Israel, to renounce violence and accept all previous agreements, all of which are jeopardized by Hamas's entrance into the Palestinian government.