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Shtayyeh: ‘We are going through difficult financial conditions, borrowing will continue from banks’

Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh makes a speech as he leads the weekly cabinet meeting at the Prime Ministry building in Ramallah, West Bank on 6 May 2019. [Issam Rimawi - Anadolu Agency]

The Palestinian Prime Minister, Mohammed Shtayyeh, Thursday, said that his government is going through difficult financial conditions and will continue to borrow from banks to pay part of its employees’ salaries. This situation is caused by Israel withholding of part of the Palestinian tax money.

This came in a speech broadcast on his personal page on “Facebook”, on the occasion of Eid El-Fitr.

“We are going through a difficult financial crisis, caused by Israel,” Shtayyeh said. “They tried to cut the money allocated to the families of martyrs and prisoners. So, we refused to receive the funds cut. We want it in its entirety.”

He added: “President Mahmoud Abbas went to the Arab summit (Mecca summit) and asked to activate the Arab financial network, hoping that the Arabs will promptly respond to his request. We also communicated with the international community about Israel’s violation of the Paris economic agreement.”

Shtayyeh said that his government borrowed money from banks in the previous months and will continue to do so.

“The situation is difficult, but we will remain loyal to the families of martyrs and prisoners,” he said.

He pointed out that the policy of financial pressure exerted by the Israeli side on the Palestinian government is part of a war waged to push the Palestinian side to surrender and accept the American peace plan known in media as the “Deal of the Century.”

Read: Time to stop the external manipulation of ‘what Palestinians want’

Shtayyeh continued: “Our people will not surrender and we will accept only a just solution, which is the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital, with the refugees’ right of return.”

He stressed on the importance of the Palestinian street and factions’ support of the position of President Abbas.

He concluded: “We are confident that we will overcome this circumstance as ‘after black clouds comes clear weather’.”

The Palestinian Authority is suffering from a severe financial crisis after Israel passed a law, last year, allowing it to seize parts of the taxes it collects for the Palestinian Authority, under the pretext that these funds go to the prisoners and the martyrs’ families.

Israel began to implement its decision on 17 February, after the Council of ministers for security and political affairs “Cabinet” approved of the cutting of a monthly deduction of $11.3 million.

Palestinian tax funds are the main source of the employees’ wage bill, and without which the government will not be able to meet its obligations to employees and institutions.

In response to the Israeli decision, the Palestinian government refused to receive the reduced funds, which led it to a severe financial crisis and pushed it to intensify borrowing from banks and turn to the Arab countries to provide funds.

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