The Finance Ministry on Wednesday denied reports it delayed NIS 380 million in funds to the Palestinian Authority.
“The funds are supposed to be transferred on Thursday,” Steinitz’s chief of staff, David Sharan, told The Jerusalem Post. “The Quartet asked if the Palestinian Authority could receive the money early, because of [Muslim holiday] Eid al-Fitr, but Steinitz did not agree.”
It was widely reported in Israel's domestic press Wednesday that Fiance Minister Yuval Steinitz had delayed the funds in conjunction with comments he made saying the PA Statehood Bid at the United Nations is more dangerous to Israel than the Hamas terror militias in Gaza.
“The Palestinians are still shooting rockets and taking unilateral steps against Israel, so we’re not going to take unilateral steps to help them,” Sharan added.
However, he explained, “we are not delaying or stealing anything. We will give them their money on time – not a minute before.”
MK Ahmed Tibi (UAL-Ta’al) protested the finance minister’s policy, saying that “Steinitz is behaving like an insensitive commissar. This is how he behaves towards the weaker sectors of society, and this is how he bullies the Palestinians.”
“Steinitz is trying to make up for the harm the tent protests caused to his image by flexing his right-wing muscles towards the Palestinians who are left without salaries on the holiday,” Tibi added.
Tibi's office declined to comment after the Finance Ministry clarified the fund transfer would go through on time.