Mohammad Shtayyeh
Mohammad ShtayyehReuters

Palestinian Authority (PA) cabinet leader Mohammad Shtayyeh on Tuesday strongly criticized Israel over its cutting of funds destined for the PA treasury, warning that these cuts put the PA finances in a very difficult situation.

Speaking at the opening of the weekly cabinet meeting held in Ramallah and quoted by the Wafa news agency, Shtayyeh described this month’s Israeli cut of more than $30 million from the funds it collects in taxes on goods destined for the Palestinian territories that enter through its ports as “illegitimate” and “illegal”.

“The continuation of these monthly deductions is a blatant violation of our rights and puts us in a very difficult financial situation and well as weakens our capability to meet our financial needs and responsibilities towards out people,” he stated.

Shtayyeh demanded that all the financial dues owed to the Palestinians, whether in taxes or fees collected at crossing points and in other forms be paid in full to the PA.

The Israeli Cabinet last month decided to freeze the funds transferred by the Palestinian Authority to terrorists and their families, saying it would deduct the amount the PA pays terrorists and their families from the taxes and tariffs collected for the PA by Israel.

The PA was outraged by the decision, describing it as "racist behavior" and "a policy of robbery of some of the state's funds estimated at millions of shekels."

PA officials have remained defiant about the issue of payments to terrorists and have made clear that the PA will never cease paying terrorists' salaries.

PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas has in the past called the PA's continued payments to terrorists a "red line" that would not be halted under any circumstances.