Cairo: Arab finance ministers Sunday reiterated their countries’ commitment to offer $100 million in monthly aid to the Palestinian National Authority (PA) to weather financial woes amid Israeli and US financial pressures. The head of the Arab League Ahmad Abu Al Geit told an emergency meeting of Arab finance ministers the Palestinians are stuck in a “tough and delicate” financial situation.
The meeting in Cairo was called to discuss instituting an Arab financial safety net to assist the PNA.
“The deficit in the Palestinian budget has reached about $700 million (Dh2.56 billion) amid limited resources,” Abu Al Geit added.
In March, an Arab summit in Tunisia agreed on offering $100 million in monthly aid to Palestinians.
“Activating this financial safety net is an urgent necessity and a real test of how serious is our commitment to support steadfastness of our Palestinian brothers,” Abu Al Geit told the ministers.
Palestinians are locked in a dispute with Israel, which collects taxes on behalf of the PNA on imports entering the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. The Israeli regime has deducted from the tax revenues a portion of money offered by the PNA to families of Palestinians killed or jailed by Israel.
The deduction has prompted the PNA to reject receiving the tax transfers. Abu Al Geit defended the Palestinian reaction. “The money is Palestinian. Israel has no right to cut any part of it. Accepting Israel’s economic punishment of Palestinians in this way legalises an illegal and unlawful measure, which is also inhumane and unethical,” he said.
The US has, meanwhile, drastically reduced aid to Palestinians amid strains in links between both sides over Washington’s pro-Israeli stances.