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Israel Preventing Palestinian Authority From Paying Salaries

22.02.2024 00:42

Beneficiaries received only 60% of October, November, December salaries following Oct. 7 attacks, with no payments made since January.

Israel's failure to transfer tax revenues to the Palestinian Authority is preventing it from paying salaries and pensions to its civil servants and retired workers.

Israel normally collects the tax revenues at border crossings under its control on Palestinians' behalf and transfers them to the Palestinian treasury under the Protocol on Economic Relations it signed with the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in Paris in 1994. It also collects customs duties on Palestinian imports.

In all, it usually pays the Palestinian Authority an average of $188 million per month, with these revenues representing the authority's main source of income.

However, the Israeli Cabinet decided last November to suspend the transfer of the tax revenues following the Oct. 7 attacks by the Palestinian group Hamas.

Norway undertook the process of receiving the tax revenues collected by Israel on behalf of the Palestinian Authority after they were suspended, according to a statement by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued on Feb. 19.

The statement added that the process would consist of Israel transferring the tax revenues collected to Norway and Norway sending the amount to the Palestinian Authority, except for the amount allocated for Gaza, which has yet to happen.

Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh said at Tuesday's weekly Cabinet conference that Israel is withholding all the tax revenues and has yet to transfer any amounts.

Employees and pensioners last received their full salaries in October 2021, after which they only received their salaries intermittently due to the authority's financial crisis, and to top it all off, they have received nothing since January this year.

The cut in salaries in 2021 was reportedly due to Israel increasing its illegal tax revenue cuts.

Palestinians in the West Bank only received 80% of their salaries from 2021, and the remainder was stated as debt to the beneficiaries.

Beneficiaries received only 60% of their October, November and December salaries since the Oct. 7 attacks, with no payments made since January. Palestinian Finance Minister Shoukry Bishara said on Feb. 14 this year that the monthly salary payments amounted to $272 million.

Of the 245,000 beneficiaries, 144,000 are employees and the rest are retired, prisoners and the families of martyrs.​​​​​​​

*Writing by Emir Yildirim in Istanbul -

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