Riyad al-Maliki
Riyad al-Maliki Reuters

The United States has denied accusations it is pressuring banks to stop dealing with the Palestinian Authority, whose relations with Washington have been plummeting

Several Palestinian Authority officials have accused the US of trying to force banks not to deal with transactions linked to the Palestinian Authority.

"The United States has not requested that foreign donors restrict assistance to the Palestinians, nor has it requested that financial institutions cease transfers to Palestinian Authority (PA) bank accounts," a US official told AFP late Monday.

"We are aware of media reports suggesting this has occurred. Those reports are incorrect."

On Sunday, senior Palestinian Authority official Hussein al-Sheikh charged that Washington was launching a "financial siege" on the PA.

"Major international financial institutions and parties have begun to accede to an American request to impose a tight financial siege on the Palestinian Authority," he told AFP.

"Washington has asked for financial aid given to the authority to be stopped, and it has also issued a circular to banks not to receive transfers for the authority's accounts."

Palestinian Authority foreign affairs chief Riyad al-Maliki spoke on local radio, accusing the US government of using "all means to press Arab countries to stop financial support for our people".

Relations between the US and the Palestinians have broken down since President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital in December 2017.

In response the US has cut more than $500 million in annual funding to the Palestinians, mostly to the United Nations agency for descendants of Palestinian Arabs claiming refugee status.