Israel transfers over $1 billion to the Palestinian Authority

3.8 billion shekels released in taxes collected by Israel on behalf of the Palestinian Authority.

Arutz Sheva Staff, AFP ,

Mahmoud Abbas
Mahmoud Abbas
Yonatan Sindel/Flash 90

Israel has released more than $1 billion in funds withheld from the Palestinian Authority, a
top Palestinian Authority official said Wednesday, weeks after coordination was renewed
between the two sides.

"The Israeli government transfers all financial dues of the clearance to the account of the Palestinian Authority, amounting to three billion and 768 million shekels," PA civil affairs minister Hussein al-Sheikh wrote on Twitter, referring to taxes, including customs taxes that the Jewish state collects on behalf of the PA.

In May, the Palestinian Authority stopped coordination with Israel, with PA chief Mahmoud Abbas saying it was in response to Israeli plans to apply sovereignty over parts of Judea and Samaria.

Israel later put its annexation plans on hold, in return for an agreement to normalize ties with the United Arab Emirates, announced in August.

In halting the cooperation with Israel, the PA also stopped accepting transfer of taxes -- particularly customs duties -- collected by Israel on its behalf.

Earlier in the week, an Israeli official told AFP on condition of anonymity that the "security cabinet approved transferring the money to the PA", without specifying the amount.

Palestinian Authority prime minister Mohammed Shtayyeh said on Monday the Palestinians were "entitled" to the funds, expected to relieve pressure on a Palestinian Authority economy in the grips of a severe budgetary crisis.

Officials "will take everything they are owed. They have been patient for months and it's only a matter of a little more time to make everything clear," Shtayyeh said.

Deprived of this income, the PA had to cut the salaries of its civil servants, at a time when the Palestinian economy had begun grappling with the impact of the novel coronavirus pandemic.