Israel to Loan Palestinian Authority $228 Million over Coronavirus Losses

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas
ABBAS MOMANI/AFP/Getty

TEL AVIV – Israel will transfer as much as NIS 800 million ($228 million) to the Palestinian Authority (PA) to cover projected losses over the coronavirus pandemic, Israeli and PA officials told The Times of Israel.

According to Palestinian Finance Minister Shukri Bishara, Ramallah’s economy would collapse if the monthly tax revenues on imports and exports, collected by Israel and transferred to the PA, fell below NIS 500 million ($142 million).

The PA’s monthly tax revenues usually add up to NIS 750 million, from which Israel takes off around NIS 250 million to cover water, electricity and healthcare bills owed by it, Bishara explained.

Finance Ministry officials from both sides signed an agreement on Monday, the report said.

The loan would take place over the next five months and amount up to NIS 800 million.

Over the past two years, Israel has deducted monies in taxes owed to the PA equivalent to the stipends paid out in the PA’s so-called “pay-for-slay” scheme rewarding convicted terrorists and their families. According to PA Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh, the total sum of last year’s withheld funds amounted to NIS 700 million ($200 million).

The PA for its part has vowed to keep up the payments.

 

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