Hussein al-Sheikh, a senior Palestinian Authority official, told Israel’s Public Broadcasting Corporation’s Kan News Wednesday morning that the PA is planning to cut the salaries of members of its security services, to make up the difference in the funds Israel collects in customs and taxes and transfers to Ramallah each month.
The Israeli cabinet has announced that it would offset from those transfers the money the PA pays out to terrorists in Israeli prisons and to the families of eliminated terrorists.
It should be noted that Israelis both on the left and on the right agree on only one substantial benefit to have come out of the Oslo accords: the occasional collaboration of the PA security services with Israeli security to prevent terror attacks and to track down terrorists.
Hussein al-Sheikh, a member of the Fatah Central Committee who is in ongoing contact with senior officials in the IDF Civil Administration in Judea and Samaria, asked in his Wednesday interview: “How can a person who does not receive money obey an order?”
Al-Sheikh said that the PA had long warned Israel not to cut its tax revenues and was still refusing to accept the curtailed money transfers. According to him, the cut amount equals about 60% of the PA’s budget, between 6 and 7 hundred million shekels ($166 to $193 million) a month.
The senior official warned: “We will enter a very difficult financial crisis,” adding, “I am very worried and expect demonstrations protesting the economic situation. We will not be able to pay salaries to our people as early as the beginning of next month.”
He accused Prime Minister Netanyahu of timing the cutbacks in synch with the coming elections, saying wants to win at the polls at the expense of the blood and the bread of the PA Arabs.
“He wants to win even at the cost of hunger among the Palestinians,” al-Sheikh said.
Al-Sheikh was defiant in insisting the Palestinian Authority would pay its last penny to the security prisoners and the families of the “martyrs,” declaring Israel has no right to demand that it stop.
“We are still under occupation and we have not received a state,” he said. “Moreover, there are no negotiations or a peace process to justify your raising demands.”
The payments to terrorists and the families of killed terrorists are anchored in a PA law, making it impossible for Ramallah to comply with Israeli demands not to pay.