The European Union has said it won’t bail out the Palestinian Authority with additional aid for so long as it refuses to accept tax revenues collected by Israel, it has been reported.
President Mahmoud Abbas announced in May that the PA would stop accepting $150m a month in tax revenues which is collected on its behalf by Israel. The move was part of a wider severing of ties with Israel after Benjamin Netanyahu threatened to annex parts of the West Bank. Abbas’ actions triggered a financial crisis, with the PA unable to pay the salaries of public service workers.
But the EU, reported the Axios website, is refusing requests from the PA for new loans and financial assistance. It says that Abbas should accept the $750m in tax revenues now being held by Israel’s Finance Ministry following Netanyahu’s decision in August to abandon annexation.
In a call earlier this month, the EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell urged Abbas to start accepting the revenues and resume security and civilian coordination with Israel. That message, Israeli officials told the news site, had also been delivered to Abbas by Jordan and Egypt.
Abbas, however, was noncommittal on the call with Borrell. The unprecedented EU ultimatum, writes Axios’ Barak Ravid, “is another indication that frustration with leaders in Ramallah is growing, even among staunch supporters of the Palestinians”.
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