TEL AVIV – The Arab League on Sunday pledged $100 million per month to the Palestinian Authority to cover the funds suspended by Israel in taxes and tariffs owed to the PA over the latter’s so-called “pay-for-slay” scheme paying salaries to terrorists and their families.
Earlier in the day, PA President Mahmoud Abbas appealed to the Arab League in Cairo to support him in rejecting the Trump administration’s as-yet unveiled peace plan.
“The Arabs need to be engaging actively at this critical time,” Abbas said.
He noted that the U.S. could offer nothing to the Palestinians in light of the moves it has taken against them, including recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and the subsequent transfer of the US Embassy there, as well as cutting aid.
“What’s left to offer us? Is there anything left to offer us that would make us happy? They took Jerusalem and the occupied territories, canceled the [rights of the] refugees and legitimized settlements. They want to fool us. They have nothing to offer us. Even if they want to offer something, it will be worse than anything else.”
“We can’t hear that the holy city of Jerusalem has been annexed to Israel,” he said. “After this crime, what can we expect?”
He also addressed President Donald Trump’s recent decision to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights.
“We don’t accept the annexation of the Golan and Jerusalem,” Abbas said. “These are all Arab territories. They are all occupied territories, and Israel needs to quickly withdraw from them.”
He also asked Arab nations to help alleviate the PA’s dire financial crisis.
“A safety net must be provided,” Abbas said.
In February, Israel began cutting monthly funds to the PA over its payments to convicted terrorists and their families, totaling close to $140 million. The PA at the time responded that it would result in anarchy in the West Bank. Abbas also said that if Israel deducts even “one penny” from tax monies owed to the PA, the PA would not accept the money transfers.
France last week called on Israel to “change your decision to freeze the transfer of tax funds to the Palestinian Authority,” Israel’s Channel 12 news reported on Sunday.
Israel responded that the request itself was immoral and opposed to the EU’s own laws.
According to a new report from the World Bank, the Palestinian deficit is set to increase from $400 million last year to over $1 billion this year.
Last week, newly appointed PA prime minister Mohammad Shtayyeh accused the Trump administration of facilitating Israel’s “financial war” on the Palestinian Authority.
“Israel is part of the financial war that has been declared upon us by the United States. The whole system is to try to push us to surrender” in order to force the PA into accepting Trump’s upcoming peace proposal, Shtayyeh said.
“This is financial blackmail, which we reject.”
Shtayyeh outlined some ways he’s hoping to alleviate the dire financial crisis, including cutting bonuses for PA officials, developing agriculture, receiving more aid from the Arab world and Europe, and seeking financial independence from Israel. The last proposal may include importing fuel from neighboring Jordan as opposed to Israel, and even introducing a Palestinian currency.