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Palestinian Officials: Washington Threatens Banks to Block Financial Transfers

Palestinian Officials: Washington Threatens Banks to Block Financial Transfers

Tuesday, 12 February, 2019 - 10:30
Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat looks on during a news conference following his meeting with foreign diplomats, in Ramallah, in the Israeli-occupied West Bank January 30, 2019. REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman
Ramallah- Kifah Zboun
Palestinian officials said that the United States was pressing Arab countries and threatening banks and international institutions to prevent any financial support or transfers to the Palestinian Authority. They added that they expected financial difficulties in the coming period in the wake of the current procedures and other parallel Israeli measures.

“The United States is exerting pressure on the Arab countries by all means to stop financial support for our people,” said Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki.

He added that the Palestinian leadership was monitoring “the new American attempts to impose a financial siege on our people and is looking for legal steps to bring lawsuits against the US.”

Speaking to the official Palestinian radio, Maliki underlined the PA’s commitment to finding suitable financial alternatives to respond to these US punitive measures. While he did not elaborate on the nature of the American measures, other officials spoke of threats to banks and the blocking of financial transfers.

The Chief Palestinian negotiator and the secretary of the PLO’s Executive Committee, Saeb Erekat, said that international financial institutions began to impose a tight financial siege on the PA.

“The financial blockade came at the American request,” Erekat said, stressing that Washington “asked to stop providing any financial assistance to the Palestinian Authority, and issued a circular to the banks not to complete any transfers to the accounts of the PA.”

Washington has succeeded, according to Palestinian officials, in preventing the transfer of USD10 million provided by Iraq to the Authority. Iraq had handed over this amount to the Arab League, which was not able to transfer it because of banks’ refusal to complete the transaction.

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