As part of its global response to the coronavirus outbreak, the European Union (EU) donated €10 million ($11.6 million) to the Palestinian Authority (PA), the Office of the EU Representative said yesterday.
The support will enable the PA to meet its commitments towards the September payments of Palestinian civil servants’ salaries and pensions in the occupied West Bank.
The EU said in a statement that this contribution is a clear message of the EU’s strong commitment to the Palestinian people at this critical time.
“Over the years, the EU has invested in building the institutions of the future independent Palestinian state. This has always been an important financial and political investment, with the clear objective to help to establish a viable, democratic and sovereign Palestinian state,” said European Union Representative Sven Kühn von Burgsdorff.
“With this payment of €10 million, our total contribution to the current expenditures of the Palestinian Authority’s budget in 2020 amounts to around €90 million. However, as the achievements of our strong partnership appear to be threatened by serious challenges, including the entirely unsustainable fiscal position of the Palestinian Authority and the devastating consequences of Covid-19, it is high time to act.”
In May, the EU provided the PA an assistance package of around €38 million ($41 million).
The EU, added Burgsdorff, is Palestine’s most important and reliable partner and donor, and will continue to firmly support the two-state solution under the internationally agreed parameters and to fully respect its pledges towards the Palestinian people”.
“As a matter of urgency, the accumulated amount of the Palestinian tax revenues collected by Israel should be transferred and accepted by the Palestinian Authority. This will not only enable the Palestinian Authority to effectively fight the pandemic and mitigate the economic crisis in Palestine. It should also contribute to building trust between the parties,” he added.
The PA stopped receiving taxes which Israel collects on its behalf in May, when President Mahmoud Abbas said he was suspending all agreements with the occupation state in protest against its planned annexation of wide swathes of the occupied Palestinian West Bank.
Israel has so far collected 2.5 billion shekels ($0.74 billion) for the Palestinian Authority, which is used to fund the PA’s civil servants and West Bank officials.