Palestinian Authority Receives Money Despite Sanctions Threat

RAMALLAH (Reuters) -

Palestinian public sector workers received their salaries on Tuesday, Palestinian officials said, in a sign that Israel had backed down from a threat to impose sanctions as peace talks began to collapse last month.

Israel had said on April 10 it would withhold funds after Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas signed a series of international human rights conventions he hoped would allow Palestinians to eventually challenge Israel at the United Nations, which recognized Palestine as a non-member state in 2012.

Palestinian officials said the payment reflected Israel’s decision to transfer more than $100 million in customs duties it collects on goods headed to Palestinian-run areas through border crossings it controls.

The money accounts for about two-thirds of the Palestinian budget and is key to keeping its large public sector functioning and maintaining stability.

Israel had said it would dock payment of over $100 million it said the Palestinian government owed it in utility bills.

Israeli officials could not be immediately reached for comment on Independence Day.