The Ad Hoc Liaison Committee (AHLC) gathered at the UN headquarters on Thursday. EU Foreign Affairs Representative Federica Mogherini, the Palestinian Authority (PA) “Prime Minister” Mohammad Shtayyah, the Norwegian Foreign Minister and other ministers participated in the conference.
Israel was represented by the Israel's Deputy Director-General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Yael Rabia-Tzadok, Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), Major General Kamil Abu-Rukon, Director General of the Ministry of Regional Cooperation Dr. Yossi Dreznin, COGAT Civilian Department Chief of Staff Colonel Sharon Biton and Treasury Representative Matri Lev.
Israel reiterated its commitment to the forum's activities and its willingness to promote aid operations to help the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip as well as the economic situation in the PA, despite the brutal and aggressive nature of the Hamas regime.
Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations, Danny Danon, addressed the conference, saying that "the humanitarian deterioration in the Gaza Strip is a clear result of the Hamas regime’s control over the Strip.”
“The international community needs to connect the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip with the humanitarian needs of Israeli prisoners and civilian captives. This tactic of increasing pressure will contribute to efforts to return our sons home,” he added.
Ahead of Thursday’s gathering, the World Bank warned that the PA faces a financing gap that could top $1.8 billion.
The World Bank’s report said that the PA economy has been in deep crisis since February, when the Israeli Cabinet decided to implement the policy of offsetting the PA’s payments to terrorists from the tax money it collects.
Immediately after Israel’s decision to offset the money paid to terrorists from the PA tax funds, the PA announced it would not take the partial sum of the funds from Israel.
Abbas later 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 killed by Israel.
The PA chairman has in the past called the PA's continued payments to terrorists a "red line" that would not be halted under any circumstances.
The PA spends six percent of its annual budget to pay $4.5 million a month to jailed terrorists and another $6.5 million to their families, yet continues to ask for foreign donations.