More than $1 billion in funds withheld from the Palestinian Authority by Israel was released by the Jewish state, reported AFP quoting a Palestinian Minister on Wednesday.
The Civil Affairs Minister Hussein al-Seikh of Palestine wrote on Twitter, “The #Israeli government transfers all financial dues of the clearance to the account of the #Palestinian Authority, amounting to three billion and 768 million shekels,” alluding to taxes, including customs taxes, that the Jewish state accumulates on behalf of the PA.
Palestinians had stopped coordinating with Israel in May following the latter’s plan to annex parts of the West Bank, with PA leader Abbas publicly bashing the Jewish state.
Israel later put its annexation plans on hold, in return for an agreement to normalise ties with the United Arab Emirates, announced in August.
In halting the cooperation with Israel, the PA also stopped accepting transfer of taxes — particularly customs duties — collected by Israel on its behalf.
Earlier in the week, an Israeli official told AFP on condition of anonymity that the “security cabinet approved transferring the money to the PA”, without specifying the amount.
Palestinian prime minister Mohammed Shtayyeh said on Monday the Palestinians were “entitled” to the funds, expected to relieve pressure on a Palestinian economy in the grips of a severe budgetary crisis.
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Officials “will take everything they are owed. They have been patient for months and it’s only a matter of a little more time to make everything clear,” Shtayyeh said.
Deprived of this income, the PA had to cut the salaries of its civil servants, at a time when the Palestinian economy had begun grappling with the impact of the novel coronavirus pandemic.