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Prime Minister Ehud Olmert
Photo: Dudi Vaaknin
Photo: AFP
Head of Palestinian emergency government Salam Fayyad
Photo: AFP
Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni
Photo: Haim Zach
Israel to transfer $400 million to PA
Withheld tax funds may be transferred to emergency Palestinian government following end to international embargo on PA. Transfer to be monitored, ensuring no funds reach terror groups
Israel is expected to release withheld tax funds to the Palestinian Authority just in time for a four-way Middle East summit in Sharm el-Sheikh next Monday.

 

The issue will be discussed and decided on during the weekly Knesset meeting on Sunday.

 

Israel is currently in control of about $400 million in Palestinian taxes, which have not been transferred to the PA as of yet due to Hamas’ rise to power.

 

However, following the establishment of a new emergency government headed by Salam Fayyad, the United States and Europe have resumed financial aid to the Palestinians, prompting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to allow the flow of funds into the Authority.

 

The withheld tax funds will be transferred to the Palestinians in installments, through a mechanism that will ensure none of the funds reach terror organizations, or any groups associated with terror, including Hamas.

 

“We will help them financially, we will explore every possibility in order to release the tax funds if they adhere to conditions set by the international community and the Quartet,” Olmert said during a meeting with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in New York last Sunday.

 

Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni also remarked on the issue of the withheld tax funds during a visit to Luxembourg earlier in the week. Livni said that Israel would release the funds to the Palestinian Authority, if the emergency government acknowledged Israel’s right to exist.

 

“We are prepared to work with those committed to a two-state solution, and with such a government, Israel will agree to release the funds that have been withheld,” she said.

 

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