Israel transferred on Friday $100 million to the Palestinian Authority. The $100 million is a portion of PA tax revenues Israel had collected on behalf of the Palestinian Authority but froze them when the Hamas-led government came to power.
According to a senior official in the prime minister’s office, the funds had been held up for almost a month due to the delay by the Palestinians to set up a mechanism whereby Israel would be satisfied that the funds would not make their way into the hands of Hamas-led government officials.
In an interview with Israel Radio Saeb Erekat, the head of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s negotiating team, said that he hopes Israel will transfer the remaining tax revenues to the Palestinian Authority, which is a total of over $500 million. Ismail Haniyeh, Palestinian Prime Minister, said that he hopes the Arab states will put pressure on Israel to release the remaining funds.
The funds are intended to be used for “humanitarian purposes” and to bolster PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas’ Presidential Guard, and are not to be used to pay salaries.
The PA had requested that the funds be transferred to a Beirut bank account, but Israel refused the request and the PA finally agreed to use an Israeli bank for the transfer. The account was set up in a way that would allow Israel to monitor the funds and how they are being used.
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