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article imagePalestinians call on Arab nations for help with financial crisis

By Sam Halaby     Jul 26, 2011 in World
Ramallah - Palestinian leaders are urging fellow Arab nations for support in the wake of a financial crisis that has left over 150,000 government employees with cut salaries.
At a news conference in Ramallah on Tuesday, Palestinian Authority (PA) Prime Minister Salam Fayyad called on the international community to fulfill pledges made to the Palestinians, who are currently experiencing a financial crisis due to a shortage of foreign aid.
This follows an announcement by the prime minister earlier this month that the PA would be forced to cut salaries in half until they collected foreign aid from other nations.
Singling out other countries for not fulfilling their obligations, Fayyad said that only Oman, Algeria and the United Arab Emirates have committed to paying their pledges this year, Arabian Business reported.
The Arab League’s Deputy Secretary-General Ahmed Ben Helli told the Palestinian WAFA agency that the Arab League stressed financial support for the Palestinian Authority from other Arab countries.
A Palestinian envoy confirmed that $30.8M was transferred from Saudi Arabia to the PA, who according to Fayyad have received $750M in total contributions between 2007 and 2010, the AP reported.
The PA’s desire to keep Fayyad as Prime Minister has created an obstacle for the unity deal between Fatah and Hamas, which Saudi Arabia welcomed, according to a statement from Crown Prince Talal bin Badr al-Saud in May.
Hamas wants one of their members to fill the post currently held by Fayyad.
Bassam Zakarneh, chairman of the PA Worker’s Union, told London-based Al-Quds al-Arabi earlier this month that the financial situation is not a “real crisis”. He blamed Fayyad’s abuse of public funds and not taking action against corrupt ministers.
According to Zakarneh, the Worker’s Union has also been banned from PA-controlled media due to pressure from the Palestinian government.
Israel temporarily suspended transfer of tax revenues following the reconciliation deal, which were collected on behalf of the PA to pay wages to over 150,000 Palestinian civil servants on the government payroll, Al Jazeera reported.
Israel refuses to continue negotiations with any Palestinian government allied with Hamas, who refuse to recognize Israel as the Jewish state.
Due to the recent halt of peace negotiations with Israel, Palestinians will be seeking unilaterally-declared statehood at the United Nations General Assembly and Security Council in September.
Last year, the PA held other Arab nations responsible for a financial crisis even though $100M in aid from Saudi Arabia helped the PA fund salary commitments.
More about Palestinian authority, Foreign aid, Israel, Saudi arabia
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