Sunday, September 27, 2020

West Bank, Gaza finances prompt worry from Israel and the United Nations

By J.J. Rhies - May 10, 2019
Section: [Main News]
Tags: [Gaza] [Palestinian Authority] [financial crisis]


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with Financial Minister Moshe Kahlon on May 8 to discuss the Palestinian Authority’s financial problems, Middle East Monitor reported.


Citing local media, Middle East Monitor said Israeli officials are anxious about the possibility of a total financial meltdown for the West Bank government, which has been beset by money issues this year.


In addition to the troubles facing the Palestinian Authority (PA), the Gaza Strip is embroiled in a severe lack of medical funding.


Jamie McGoldrick, the United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator for the occupied Palestinian territory, said 1,700 injured Gazans may require amputations in the next two years due to a lack of funding for healthcare in the Gaza Strip, according to Reuters.


The UN is asking for some $20m to help stabilise the healthcare system in Gaza.


“You’ve got 1,700 people who are in need of serious, complicated surgeries for them to be able to walk again,” McGoldrick said.


“These are people who have been shot during the demonstrations and who are in need of rehabilitation, and very, very serious and complex bone reconstruction surgery over a two-year period before they start to rehabilitate themselves.”


Without the necessary funding, those individuals could need amputations, he added.


Earlier this week, Qatar pledged $480m in financial aid to the West Bank and Gaza, Al Jazeera said.


Some $300m will go to the PA for health and education, and the remaining $180m is “urgent humanitarian relief” for Gaza.


Ismail Haniya, a senior Hamas political official, thanked Qatar, saying the aid was a “continuation” of its support for Palestinians.


Last month, Israel “secretly” gave “millions of shekels” to the Palestinian Authority (PA) “to help alleviate [the] financial crisis and to prevent the Palestinian leadership from collapsing,” Israel Channel 7 News reported.


The PA refused the aid, however. At the time, President Mahmoud Abbas said the Fatah-led government would not accept Israel’s money due to its other recent aid cuts, which have financially devastated the PA and had an effect on the West Bank economy.


Concerning the recent “secret” funds rejected by the PA, Abbas said: “Israel is trying by all means to legitimize the deductions from our money, but we will not accept it.”


“Israel will eventually return our money our way and not its way.”


Last March, Israel slashed 5 per cent of its monthly payments to the PA, which come from income tax revenue.


Israeli authorities said the cut signified its discontent with the PA’s policy of paying the families of imprisoned Palestinians, who Israel claims are militants.


Israel has withheld monthly payments equal to the grand monthly total paid to families.

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