Mahmoud Abbas
Mahmoud Abbas Reuters

The Palestinian Authority (PA) said on Thursday it had accepted a partial payment of just over half a billion dollars from Israel, AFP reports.

"An agreement was reached a few days ago with the Israeli side for transferring duties on oil and fuel which the Palestinian Authority bought in Israel to the amount of around two billion shekels ($568 million, 512 million euros)," the PA’s “civil affairs minister” Hussein al-Sheikh told the news agency.

Israel in February decided to offset the PA’s payments to terrorists from the tax money it collects on behalf of the PA. The decision meant it would withhold around $10 million per month from revenues of some $190 million per month it collects on the PA's behalf.

PA chairman Mahmoud 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 eliminated by Israel.

Since that time, Israel attempted several times to transfer funds to the PA, which refused the money each time.

"Recovering this money will solve part of the financial crisis caused by the Israeli government's freezing of Palestinian funds," said Sheikh of Thursday’s transfer, while stressing that it was only part of the arrears due from Israel.

Sheikh said the underlying political dispute had not been resolved, as the PA insisted that it would continue to pay allowances for imprisoned and dead terrorists down to the "last cent".

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 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.

Join our official WhatsApp group