Photo Credit: Hadas Parush/Flash90
Mahmoud Abbas meets with Meretz Chairewoman Tamar Zandberg at the Mukataa, March 10, 2019.

PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas met on Sunday with Meretz chairperson Tamar Zandberg and accused Israel of responsibility for the current economic crisis in the Palestinian Authority. He claimed that Israel “has no right to withhold the tax money transferred to Israel” on the PA’s behalf, to offset the amount being paid out, even now, to terrorists in Israeli prisons and to the families of killed terrorists.

Abbas has already announced that he refuses to accept the reduced sum from Israel.

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PA Minister of Finance Dr. Shakri Bishara on Sunday said at a conference with Deputy Prime Minister Dr. Nabeel Abu Rudeina and government spokesman Yousef Al-Mahmoud that current government monthly salaries would be cut by 50%, down to a minimum of 2,000 shekels (a little over $500) – meaning salaries below 2,000 shekels will be paid in full, so that only 40% of government employees will receive their full salary, according to a report in Ma’an News Agency.

Abu Rudeina stressed that the current situation is difficult, complex and dangerous and may call for more serious political measures.

Minister Bishara said that he plans to borrow $50 million a month from banks during the coming months. Minister Bishara confirmed that a meeting was held on Saturday between the PA chairman, some ministers, the head of intelligence and the deputy prime minister, during which a budget was adopted based on the “monetary standardization approach” which means the establishment of austerity measures.

At a press conference following the meeting, Meretz’s Zandberg called for a Palestinian State and stated that Abu Mazen called for peace at their meeting and reiterated his commitment to security.

With elections ahead, the photo-op with Abbas was a clear campaign message to Meretz voters.

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