Israeli sanctions start to affect Palestinians
A Palestinian girl holds up a sign during a demonstration against the expropriation of Palestinian land by Israel in the northern West Bank village of Kfar Kadum.
Palestinian officials said Nov. 27 they won’t be able to pay upcoming public-sector salaries that support nearly one-third of Palestinian families in the in the West Bank and Gaza, the clearest sign yet that Israeli economic sanctions are starting to bite.
Israel last month stopped the transfer of tax revenues and other funds it collects on behalf of the Palestinians, retaliation for the Palestinians’ successful bid for admission to the United Nations’ cultural agency UNESCO, which was part of a larger effort to gain admission as a state in the world body. The monthly transfers of about $100 million, along with hundreds of millions of dollars a year in foreign aid, are crucial for keeping the government of Western-backed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas afloat. Abbas’ prime minister, Salam Fayyad, said Nov. 27 that he won’t be able to pay upcoming salaries, which are due in the first week of December. He said the continued suspension of the tax transfers “has both an immediate impact on the lives of all employees and their dependents, some 1 million people ... (and) has a devastating indirect impact throughout the whole economy.”
Meanwhile, Israel is considering releasing tax money it has been withholding from the Palestinian Authority in response to their bid for UNESCO membership, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said yesterday. “We recognize a respite on the Palestinian side from unilateral moves. We don’t know how long this situation will continue, but things seem to have calmed down.” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said.
Compiled from AP and AFP stories by the Daily News staff.