Palestinian Authority (PA) cabinet leader Mohammed Shtayyeh on Thursday blamed Israel for the PA’s financial crisis, claiming that crisis comes as a result of Israel’s deduction from the salary that the PA pays to families of terrorists.
Israel's security cabinet recently approved the freezing of 507,697,000 shekels ($140,350,300) from the tax money it collects on behalf of the PA, amounting to the PA’s payments to terrorists who carried out attacks against Israelis and their families.
The PA then angrily announced that it had returned the tax revenues to Israel after it deducted 41 million shekels from them. PA officials made clear that it would be “all or nothing”, meaning they will receive the full tax revenues from Israel or will accept none.
In a video posted to his personal Facebook page on Thursday, Shtayyeh reiterated, according to the official PA Wafa news agency, “We refuse to transfer these funds because they are incomplete and we want them in full.”
Shtayyeh claimed that the financial pressure practiced by Israel is part of a financial war aimed at forcing Palestinian Arabs to surrender and accept the so-called 'Deal of the Century’, the US administration’s peace plan for Israel and the PA.
He stressed that “the Palestinian people will not be defeated and will only accept justice based on the establishment of an independent and sovereign state of Palestine with East Jerusalem as its capital and implementing the right of return for refugees.”
He noted that PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas has called for the activation of the Arab safety net during the Arab and Islamic summits in Mecca in Saudi Arabia, adding that the PA also directed the international community to forces Israel to uphold its responsibilities because what Israel is doing is contrary to the Paris Economic Agreement.
Abbas 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 has repeatedly asked for foreign donations in recent years, claiming it is on the verge of collapse due to a worsening financial crisis.
At the same time, it continues to spend six percent of the PA’s annual budget to pay $4.5 million a month to jailed terrorists and another $6.5 million to their families.