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      End Aid To The PA - Help Solve The Budget Crisis

      Transportation Minister Avigdor Lieberman said that monies needed to solve Israeli budgetary shortfalls should be drawn from the funds that Israel regularly transfers to the Palestinian Authority.
      First Publish: 2/19/2004, 3:29 PM / Last Update: 2/19/2004, 5:14 PM

      Transportation Minister Avigdor Lieberman said that monies needed to solve Israeli budgetary shortfalls should be drawn from the funds that Israel regularly transfers to the Palestinian Authority. The minister made the comments in reaction to insinuations by left-wing Knesset Members and leading newspapers that the Knesset Finance Committee's recent allocation of 91 million shekels - in loans and grants - to the Jewish communities of Judea, Samaria and Gaza, as well as eastern Jerusalem, comes at the expense of impoverished Israelis.

      The minister made the same recommendation earlier this week in opposing the government budget cuts proposed by Finance Minister Binyamin Netanytahu.

      According to data presented earlier this month by Knesset Member Aryeh Eldad (National Union), Israel transfers approximately 200 million shekels ($45.5 millon) to the Palestinian Authority every month. MK Eldad recently reintroduced a bill in parliament that would forbid further transfers of funds to the PA, which Israel has characterized as a "terror-supporting entity".

      Furthermore, based on information obtained by investigative journalist David Bedein from the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, Israeli transfers to the PA include $7 million (30.8 million shekels) every month into a bank account under the direct control of PLO leader Yasser Arafat.