Fayyad: PA is on the verge of bankruptcy

PA prime minister blames Israel, Arab donor countries for the current crisis; int'l aid drops from $1.8 to $ 1 billion.

PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad 311 (R) (photo credit: Reuters)
PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad 311 (R)
(photo credit: Reuters)
The Palestinian Authority is on the verge of bankruptcy because of the severe financial crisis it has been facing over the past two years, PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad said Tuesday.
He said he did not rule out the possibility that Palestinians would once again take to the streets to protest against economic hardships, as was the case in September 2012.
Fayyad told the London-based Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper he was not afraid of the eruption of social protests in the West Bank.
“I’m not afraid in the traditional sense of fear because I believe that protests are legitimate,” Fayyad said. “That’s what I said back in September when the demonstrations took place. I’m not stressed because of the protests.”
“Rather, I’m stressed because of the conditions of the people. I apologize to every father and mother who can’t give their child two shekels to go to school,” he said.
Fayyad said the PA was now in the post-crisis stage and on the verge of bankruptcy.
“We are living in a state of misery in all fields, including health and education,” he added. “Workers and civil servants are unable to go to work because they don’t have enough money for transportation. We are in a tragic situation.”
Fayyad said the crisis began two-and-a-half years ago because of lack of funding from donor countries. He pointed out that international aid to the PA dropped from $1.8 billion in 2008 to $1 billion in 2011.
Fayyad blamed Israel and the Arab countries for the current crisis. He said the Israeli government’s decision to seize Palestinians’ tax revenues to pay their debts to the Israel Electric Company was an “act of piracy” aimed at punishing the PA following the UN General Assembly’s vote in favor of upgrading its status to nonmember observer.
Fayyad condemned the seizure of the revenues as a “fatal blow” to the Palestinian economy.
Fayyad said he had no explanation as to why the Arab countries were refusing to fulfill their promise to give the PA $100 million in accordance with the recent decision of the Arab League, adding that “this is a question that should be addressed to the Arab countries.”
He noted that the Arab countries had promised to provide the PA with a “security net” once Israel seized the Palestinians’ tax revenues.
“I have no explanation,” Fayyad said of the failure of the Arab countries to fulfill their promise. “Frankly, I don’t know what is going on.”
Fayyad said the Palestinians were told to wait until an Arab economic summit is held on January 21 in Saudi Arabia.
“We can’t wait until the Arab summit convenes,” he cautioned.
“We need the funds badly because the PA’s performance is in a state of paralysis.”
The PA cabinet, meanwhile, issued another appeal to the Arab countries to help it solve its financial crisis. The appeal came after the cabinet’s weekly meeting in Ramallah.