RAMALLAH, Monday, September 28, 2020 (WAFA) – Premier Mohammad Shtayyeh today pledged to ensure successful general elections, to be held for the first time in 15 years.
Speaking in the weekly cabinet virtual meeting via the Zoom platform, Shtayyeh pledged that the government would spare no effort to ensure the success of the general elections that would be held in line the understandings of the recent Fatah-Hamas meeting in Istanbul and virtual meeting of the secretaries general of the factions.
“We will remain resilient and won’t be defeated by the plots being concocted against us. Israel and the US want to defeat us, so that we give up and acquiesce to their project, but we will never do so” he said as he stressed Palestinian steadfastness in the face of the US-touted Mideast plan, dubbed deal of the century, designed to force Palestinians into submission to perpetual Israeli dominance.
Shtayyeh touched upon the ongoing financial crisis which compelled the government to pay only 50 percent of September salaries for its some 140,000 employees for the fourth consecutive month.
He pointed out that the government monthly expenses total 1.2 billion shekels (USD $346 million), 500 million came from the tax revenues, which continue to be withheld by Israel, and 350 million of local monthly taxes, which sharply dropped following the coronavirus pandemic.
This came as the US continued to suspend $500 million in assistance and Arab states refrained from providing $350 million in aid to the Palestinian Authority, reducing the monthly public revenues to 200 million ($58 million) and obliging the government to reduce salaries by 60 percent and borrow 400 million shekels from banks to cover 350,000 monthly salaries.
He assured that the government would pay the public servants’ salaries in full once it receives the necessary funds without being subject to any political extortion from Israel or the US.
He urged the public to comply with the public safety measures to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus, including social distancing and wearing face masks.
The Palestinian Authority’s finances were hit by a sharp decline in public revenues in the last six months, exacerbated in May when it refused to receive the monthly tax revenues from Israel in protest of the latter’s annexation move and in line with the Palestinian leadership’s decision to cease coordination with Israel.
The PA refused to accept the monthly clearance revenues after ending the coordination and as a result of Israel insisting on the coordination as a mean to deliver the money.