Rice to meet with Livni next week
WASHINGTON – The American Administration wants Israel to continue transferring Palestinian tax payments to the Palestinian Authority for the coming months at least.
As it turns out, the Americans do not want fund transfers to the PA curbed at this time, as long as the Palestinians are still facing a transition period before the establishment of a Hamas government.
Notably, Israel collects some taxes on behalf of the Palestinians and later transfers the funds to the PA. However, the transfers have come under question following Hamas' election victory.
Issue to be reexamined once new government formed
American Ambassador to Israel Richard Jones has already held contacts on the matter with officials in Jerusalem in order to find out whether Israel is willing to continue transferring the funds. Meanwhile, Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Danny Ayalon held meetings on the matter with senior U.S. officials and told them Israel has decided to withhold the money for the time being.
U.S. State Department Spokesman Sean McCormick addressed the issue Wednesday and said contacts with the Israeli government over the matter will continue. He added the issue will be reexamined once a new Palestinian government is formed.
The question of transferring funds to the PA is also expected to be discussed during Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni's visit to Washington next week.
According to estimates, the U.S. Administration is interested in maintaining the flow of funds to the PA in an effort to boost the standing of PA chairman and Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas during the current transition period, which is expected to last two or three months.