Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Palestinian Authority lands in financial crisis

RECOMMENDED READING


RAMALLAH, West Bank — The Palestinian self-rule government is in "extreme jeopardy" because of an unprecedented financial crisis, largely because Arab countries have failed to send hundreds of millions of dollars in promised aid, the Palestinian prime minister said Sunday.

The cash crunch has gradually worsened in recent years, and the Palestinian Authority now has reached the point of not being able to pay the salaries of about 150,000 government employees, Salam Fayyad told the Associated Press. The number of Palestinian poor is bound to quickly double to 50 percent of the population of roughly 4 million if the crisis continues, he said.

The Palestinian Authority, set up two decades ago as part of interim peace deals with Israel, is on the "verge of being completely incapacitated," Fayyad warned. Only a year ago, he said he expected to make great strides in weaning his people off foreign aid.

The self-rule government was meant to be temporary and replaced by a state of Palestine, which was to be established through negotiations with Israel. However, those talks repeatedly broke down, and for the past four years the two sides have been unable to agree on the terms of renewing the negotiations.

In November, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas won U.N. recognition of a state of Palestine in the West Bank, Gaza and east Jerusalem, overriding Israeli objections to the largely symbolic step.

In an apparent response to the U.N. move, Israel in December halted its monthly transfer of about $100 million in tax rebates it collects on behalf of the Palestinians. That sum amounts to about one-third of the monthly operating costs of the Palestinian Authority. Fayyad said he now only takes in about $50 million a month in revenues.

In the meantime, the 22-nation Arab League has not kept a promise to make up for the funds Israel withholds, Fayyad said. He said European countries have kept their aid commitments.

Some $200 million in U.S. aid were held up by Congress last year, a sum the Obama administration hopes to deliver to the Palestinians this year, along with an additional $250 million in aid.

Comments
Michael W. Smith talks Christmas songs, gun control, his friendship with Bono and more

Michael W. Smith talks Christmas songs, gun control, his friendship with Bono and more

On the morning after the mass shooting at a Baptist church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, Michael W. Smith had pain in his voice."It's awful, it's just awful," said the Grammy-winning Christian music superstar. "Everybody's going to have their opinion...
Updated: 7 minutes ago
The Latest: NATO chief hails Mladic life sentence

The Latest: NATO chief hails Mladic life sentence

The head of the NATO military alliance is welcoming the life sentence handed down to former Bosnian Serb strongman Ratko Mladic and says it shows that justice works
Updated: 4 minutes ago
UN hopes sex misconduct cases buoy efforts to help women

UN hopes sex misconduct cases buoy efforts to help women

The head of the U.N. women's agency is hoping to capitalize on the attention around sexual harassment, abuse and rape.
Updated: 5 minutes ago

AP Top News at 8:49 a.m. EST

AP Top News at 8:49 a.m. EST
Updated: 5 minutes ago
Poll: 1 in 3 Americans dreads political talk at Thanksgiving

Poll: 1 in 3 Americans dreads political talk at Thanksgiving

More than a third of Americans dread the prospect of political talk over Thanksgiving
Updated: 5 minutes ago

Police: Prostitution ring run out of senior living facility

Police in Massachusetts have arrested two men they say ran a prostitution ring out of an apartment at a senior living facility
Updated: 12 minutes ago
In surprise reversal, Lebanese PM puts resignation on hold

In surprise reversal, Lebanese PM puts resignation on hold

Lebanese Prime Minister Hariri puts his resignation on hold, to allow time for more consultations
Updated: 13 minutes ago

Updated: 15 minutes ago
Trump calls father of freed UCLA player an 'ungrateful fool'

Trump calls father of freed UCLA player an 'ungrateful fool'

President Donald Trump is continuing to taunt the father of a UCLA basketball player detained for shoplifting in China
Updated: 20 minutes ago
Trump calls father of freed UCLA player an 'ungrateful fool'

Trump calls father of freed UCLA player an 'ungrateful fool'

President Donald Trump is continuing to taunt the father of a UCLA basketball player detained for shoplifting in China
Updated: 20 minutes ago