Abbas Asks Russia to Intervene with Israel in Financial Crisis

YERUSHALAYIM -

After rejecting a compromise offer from the European Union to provide funds in the Palestinian Authority’s financial crisis, Mahmoud Abbas has turned to Russia, according to The Jerusalem Post on Thursday night.

The EU conditioned emergency funding on the PA agreeing to switch from its so-called “merit-based” payouts to terrorists’ families to a needs-based system that would place them on welfare lists. The Palestinians, who have claimed that the stipends are for humanitarian purposes, refused to go along.

Instead, Abbas approached the Russian Representative in Ramallah, Aganin Rashidovich, to seek Moscow’s intervention with the Israelis, who have deducted the amount of the terror stipends from the monthly transfer of tax revenues to the PA. Abbas exacerbated the shortfall by refusing to accept the transfers from Israel at all, as long as those deductions were not reinstated.

“There have been attempts to find alternative channels to pay the prisoners and martyrs allowances, which we will not accept,” PA Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Information Nabil Abu Rudaineh said on Thursday.

“Israel must pay the whole funds without any deductions,” Abu Rudaineh said, adding that Israel “must honor all agreements and pay the funds in full.”

The report did not say what the Russian response was.

EU Commissioner for the European Neighborhood and Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn said: “We do not support the system of Palestinian payments to ‘prisoners and martyrs.’ ”

He suggested a compromise move to a needs-based system, saying that the EU was “ready to work with the Palestinian Authority to see how beneficiaries of the current scheme could be integrated – on the basis of need rather than any other criteria – into the PA’s regular social allowance system.”

“At the same time, we are seriously concerned by the fiscal crisis faced by the PA. We called on Israel to comply with its current obligations and resume full transfer of revenues – and on the PA to accept the transfers,” the EU delegation said.