PA cabinet leader: Bahrain conference is futile

Mohammad Shtayyeh denounces American workshop in Bahraini capital as mediocre.

Elad Benari ,

Mohammed Shtayyeh
Mohammed Shtayyeh
Flash 90

Palestinian Authority (PA) cabinet leader Mohammad Shtayyeh on Monday denounced the American workshop in the Bahraini capital Manama as mediocre, saying he expected its results to be futile.

Speaking at the opening of the weekly cabinet meeting held in Ramallah and quoted by the PA news agency Wafa, Shtayyeh said that the PA’s boycott of the workshop has deemed it illegitimate.

He added that the solution to the Palestinian issue is political and comes through ending the “Israeli occupation” and enabling the Palestinians to have control over their natural resources that would help them build a strong and independent economy.

“Peace and prosperity of the Palestinian people must be achieved by calling on Israel to stop the theft of our land, piracy of our assets and seizure of our natural resources, and to end its occupation, stop the settlements and lift the siege imposed on the Gaza Strip,” said Shtayyeh, according to Wafa.

He said that Israel is still withholding the PA money, saying that creates a difficult financial situation, and reiterated the official Palestinian position not to receive the clearance funds if any amount was deducted from it.

Israel has been offsetting the PA’s payments to terrorists from the tax money Israel collects on behalf of the PA, angering the PA which announced in return it would not take the partial sum of the funds from Israel.

PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas has reiterated that he would not accept partial payment of tax transfers owed by Israel and also stressed that he would not end the financial support for the families of terrorists imprisoned or eliminated by Israel.

"We are looking for solutions and we have some plans, but the ultimate solution is for Israel to return our money in full,” Shtayyeh said on Monday.

He welcomed the emergency meeting of Arab finance ministers held on Sunday in Cairo to help the Palestinians deal with their financial crisis. He expressed hope that the Arab financial safety net would be translated into reality.

At Sunday’s meeting, the finance ministers of the Arab League reaffirmed a pledge to pay $100 million a month to the PA.

The PA has repeatedly asked for foreign donations in recent years, claiming it is on the verge of collapse due to a worsening financial crisis.

At the same time, it continues to spend six percent of the PA’s annual budget to pay $4.5 million a month to jailed terrorists and another $6.5 million to their families.