Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon last Thursday evening signed a transfer of 120 million shekels from the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) tax money as emergency aid to the PA in light of the coronavirus crisis.
Barak Ravid, the political correspondent for Channel 13 News, reported that IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi, the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) Gen. Kamil Abu Rukun, as well as other security officials, spoke with Kahlon and expressed concern that the coronavirus crisis was exacerbating the economic crisis in Judea and Samaria and could lead to the collapse of the PA.
Kahlon had previously refused the request of PA “finance minister” Shukri Bishara to release 650 million shekels of the PA tax money that Israel has frozen as part of the law to offset terrorist salaries.
The funds that were transferred on Thursday are a surplus collection of taxes from the PA held by Israel and over which negotiations and accounting were conducted for a lengthy time period.
Immediately after Israel announced it would offset the terrorist salaries from the PA tax money, 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 eliminated by Israel.