President Mahmoud Abbas addressing a cabinet meeting in Ramallah. (WAFA Images)
RAMALLAH, Monday, April 29, 2019 (WAFA) – President Mahmoud Abbas said today that the Palestinian Authority (PA) will not accept the clearance revenues from Israel if they are incomplete.
He made this statement at the opening of a meeting for the Palestinian government headed by Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh.
"Israel is trying by all means to legitimize the deductions from our money; but we will not accept it," he said, stressing that “Israel will eventually return our money our way and not its way."
Israel has been deducting millions of dollars every month from the Palestinian tax revenues it collects on goods destined to the occupied Palestinian territories, claiming the money deducted was equivalent to the amount the PA pays families of Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails for resisting the occupation and for those killed by Israeli forces.
“Israel steals or deducts the funds of martyrs, wounded and prisoners, knowing that there are agreements that every deducted penny must be agreed on by the technical and financial teams and others,” he said.
"The situation is still the same and because of it we will not be able to pay full salaries. I hope our employees will be patient for a while longer. We are used to this and we passed through difficult circumstances like in 1991-1992, and then it was repeated after Hamas formed its first government in 2006 and people endured it," he said.
On the meeting between the head of the Civil Affairs Authority, Hussein al-Sheikh, and the Israeli Minister of Finance Moshe Kahlon two days ago, the President said the meeting took place to discuss the deductions in the clearing funds, stressing that the Palestinians will not accept this situation no matter what the price.
"We paid 50 percent of the employees’ salary for the last two months and this month, and because of the advent of the holy month of Ramadan we are trying to pay 60 percent, and then we will see how things go," he said.
President Abbas criticized the United State for closing the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) office in Washington, moving its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem and recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
He said the American so-called "deal of the century” is known and there is nothing to wait for even though some countries said to wait, “but we have been waiting for 70 years and we cannot wait any longer. What is the purpose of waiting?
"We told the Arab League that we will not wait. We are against the deal of the century because what will come is not important, rather what is more important is what has already happened. We told America that the doors are open with Congress and the US administration, but only if they rescind their decisions.”
He pointed out that ever since the signing of the Oslo accords in 1993 until today, Israel has backed away from all agreements. Yet, “we want to live with them in peace as neighbors, but not at any cost. We have rights that are expressed by the United Nations.”
"After all these difficult financial circumstances, we asked our Arab brothers for a $ 100 million safety net and considered it a debt. We also decided to send delegations all over the world. We started with the Arab League. We will send delegations to Russia, China, India, Pakistan, Latin America, Africa and the European Union to overcome this crisis,” said Abbas.
He said when Hamas succeeded in the 2006 legislative elections, “we told them to run the government. We have a transparent democracy better than any other country in the world, but they turned against their state and their people.”
He stressed that he will not accept a state within a state, calling for implementing the Cairo reconciliation agreement of October 12, 2017. “Anything else, we will not accept,” he said.
The President stressed that the PLO’s Central Council, which is considered as the parliament with the powers of the National Council, the PLO’s parliament in exile, is going to meet to decide on the measures it deems appropriate, explaining that “we try not to make uncalculated leaps because to take our people on an adventure is not and will not be easy.”