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Daily Israel Report

Arab League Chief to Visit Ramallah, Discuss 'Safety Net'

Arab League chief Nabil al-Arabi will visit Ramallah and focus on a financial "safety net" to ease the economic crisis in the PA government.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 12/26/2012, 6:15 AM

Arab League Secretary-General Nabil al-Arabi
Arab League Secretary-General Nabil al-Arabi
Reuters

The Palestinian Authority's foreign minister, Riyad al-Malki, on Tuesday said Arab League chief Nabil al-Arabi would visit Ramallah.

The Bethlehem-based Ma'an news agency said that the visit would focus on a financial "safety net" to ease the economic crisis facing the PA government.

Al-Malki described the trip as a solidarity visit, and said no official meetings will be held.

The foreign minister said he was not optimistic that the meetings would result in an increase of funds from abroad, but he deferred comment pending the presentation of the report on December 29.

He said a follow-up committee meeting two weeks ago resulted in no increase of Arab financial support.

Two weeks ago, representatives of the Arab League who met in Qatar’s capital Doha pledged to transfer the monthly sum in order to give the PA government under Chairman Mahmoud Abbas a “financial safety net.”

On Sunday, PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad accused Arab states of evading their financial commitments to the PA.

Fayyad called for an urgent Arab summit to address the PA's financial crisis.

The PA is trying to overcome the crisis, Fayyad said, stressing the importance of resilience in the face of challenges to the Palestinian people and its leadership.

Fayyad's plea on Sunday followed a similar one last week, in which he also urged Arab League nations to make good on their pledged "safety net" funds, essentially begging those nations to keep the PA alive.

"I have nothing left to do but to urge our Arab brothers to activate this net, because until this point there has been no movement to deliver the $100 million," Fayyad told reporters at a briefing in his Ramallah office.

"If this safety net is not activated quickly, I'll call for an emergency Arab summit to discuss financial situation because it's a dangerous situation," he said.

The PA currently faces its worst economic crisis since its founding, and Fayyad has warned that the entity may soon fail financially and cease to exist.

Employees of the PA government across Judea and Samaria went on strike last week over unpaid salaries, but they chose to blame Israel for the crisis because of its decision to withhold tax and tariff revenues it collects on the PA's behalf.

The Israeli decision to withhold the taxes for several months was a direct response to Abbas's unilateral move at the United Nations, where the entity was recognized as a non-member observer state in a direct violation of the Oslo Accords which prohibit unilateral moves.