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Abbas Warns of Hardships for PA Without Arab 'Safety Net'

PA Chairman warns that if Arab countries don't deliver on their promised 'safety net', the PA will be in a difficult situation.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 1/4/2013, 4:15 AM

Mahmoud Abbas
Mahmoud Abbas
Reuters

Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas warned on Thursday that without the pledged Arab "safety net" for the, the PA will be in a difficult situation, the Bethlehem-based Ma’an news agency reports.

Last month, the Arab League states pledged to pay Abbas' Palestinian Authority $100 million a month, but have yet to deliver.

Speaking at a PLO meeting, Abbas said Thursday that the leadership was using "all possible means" to push for the funds.

He noted, according to Ma'an, that Israel's withholding of tax revenues had worsened the financial crisis.

Usually, Israel transfers about $120 million in customs duties on goods destined for PA markets that transit through Israeli ports, and which constitute a large percentage of the PA budget. Israel decided to withhold the taxes for several months in a direct response to Abbas's unilateral move at the United Nations, where the entity was recognized as a non-member observer state.

The PA currently faces its worst economic crisis since its founding, and its Prime Minister Salam Fayyad has warned that the entity may soon fail financially and cease to exist. Fayyad recently accused Arab states of evading their financial commitments to the PA by failing to provide the funds they promised.

Ma'an also reported that Abbas warned that Israel had no right to change the geography or demography of "the occupied Palestinian land."

"We hope that the year of 2013 will be a good year for the Palestinian people and the whole world," he told the meeting.

"We also hope that Israel will return to its senses and understand that peace is in its interests and the interests of their children and the interests of the Palestinian generations and the whole world," Abbas continued.

Abbas has refused to come to the negotiating table with Israel and has continuously tried to impose preconditions on talks since 2009.

One of his longstanding demands is that Israel accept the pre-1967 lines as final borders. He has also demanded that Israel release all Arab terrorists from its jails, and halt construction in Judea, Samaria and east Jerusalem for a second time before talks begin.