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PA Threatens to Cancel Agreements With Israel

PA Threatens to Cancel Agreements With Israel

Tuesday, 19 February, 2019 - 09:00
PLO Secretary General Saeb Erekat. (AFP)
Ramallah - Kifah Ziboun
Palestinian leaders threatened to review all forms of relations with Israel and cancel agreements with it in response to an Israeli decision to deduct about $138 million of tax revenues owed to the Palestinian Authority.

A series of emergency meetings began on Monday, as Palestinian officials acknowledged that the Israeli move would actually destroy the PA.

“There is no power in the world that can make the Palestinian Authority stop paying salaries to the prisoners and the families of the martyrs,” said Saeb Erekat, secretary general of the PLO’s executive committee. “We will dissolve the Authority before we do such a thing,” he added.

Rami al-Hamdallah, head of the caretaker government, said that the Israeli decision “places the Palestinian economy at risk, threatens the ability of the PA to pay salaries on time and disrupts the development process.” “It is part of a plan to destroy the Authority,” he emphasized.

On Sunday, Israel’s cabinet approved deducting 502 million shekels ($138 million) in tax revenue from the Palestinian Authority, a figure equivalent to that paid by the PA as salaries to families of prisoners and fighters in 2018. The amount will likely be reduced gradually over 12 months.

Israel’s decision to deduct this large sum comes in response to the Authority’s insistence on paying monthly salaries to the families of Palestinian fighters and prisoners in Israeli jails, a move that puts the future of the PA at stake, with the United States suspending all support for the Palestinians.

Palestinian sources told Asharq Al-Awsat that officials were considering to implement previous recommendations to cancel agreements with Israel, even if this entails an open political confrontation.

“Israeli and American decisions are aimed at forcing the Authority to bow, but we will choose confrontation. We will proceed with the implementation of the recommendations concerning the disengagement of relations with Israel, even if this leads to the destruction of the PA. Moving to a state under occupation is a strong option,” the sources noted.

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