Mahmoud Abbas
Mahmoud Abbas Reuters

Hussein Al-Sheikh, the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) “civil affairs minister”, claimed on Monday that Israel agreed to hold an Israeli-Palestinian meeting, sponsored by France, to review the Paris Protocol, the economic agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

The Paris Protocol, signed on April 29, 1994, stipulates that Israeli currency, the New Israeli Shekel (NIS), is used in the PA as a circulating currency which legally serves there as means of payment for all purposes and to be accepted by the PA and by all its institutions, local authorities and banks. Imports from and exports to third countries, including quantitative restrictions, are subject to Israeli supervision and the Protocol gave Israel sole control over the external borders and collection of import taxes and VAT.

Al-Sheikh called the Israeli agreement to reconsider the Paris Protocol "a tremendous achievement for the Palestinian people."

Speaking at an event organized by the Ramallah Chamber of Commerce, the PA official further said that Israel also agreed to convene the professional committees, including the electricity committee, the Health committee and the committee which discusses the Israeli Government’s debt to the PA.

The suspension of the committees' activities since 2000 has allowed Israel to foreclose millions of dollars earmarked for the Palestinians, claimed Al-Sheikh.

"Based on the Israeli side's agreement to operate the professional committees, we agreed to receive 1.5 billion shekels of our money and this amount was transferred on Sunday," said Al-Sheikh, in a reference to Friday’s agreement between Israel and the PA, under which the PA received the money from Israel despite Israel's offsetting of terrorist salaries from the revenues it collects on the PA's behalf.

Immediately after Israel’s decision to offset the money paid to terrorists from the PA tax funds, the PA announced it would not take the partial sum of the funds from Israel.

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 killed by Israel.

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

Even after Friday’s agreement between the sides, senior PA officials have declared that support for imprisoned terrorists and their families will continue.

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