PA Secures 60% of Public Employees’ Wages despite Financial Crisis

RAMALLAH, January 18, 2015 (WAFA) – As the Palestinian Authority (PA) faces financial crisis due to Israel’s freeze of tax revenues it collects on Palestinians behalf as a punitive measure for joining the International Criminal Court (ICC), the government announced it was able to secure 60% of public servant wages through Arab countries’ contributions.

PA has not been able to pay December salaries to its public employees after Israel decided not to transfer about $130 millions of tax revenues which it collects on behalf of PA in reprisal for acceding to 16 international treaties and organizations, most importantly the Rome Statue of the ICC.

The step was taken by the PA following the United Nations Security Council’s (UNSC) failure to pass the Palestinian bid calling for an end to the Israeli occupation within three years and recognizing an independent Palestinian state.

The government said it was able to secure 60% of the employees’ salaries through aid contributions of Arab countries.

It said it is exerting all efforts to secure the remaining amount of employees’ salaries within January. Public employees usually get paid on the first week of each month.

The government insured public employees that it will exert all efforts to spare them from the repercussions of Israel’s collective punishment against them.

“The Israeli extortion campaign against the Palestinian leadership, headed by President Mahmoud Abbas, will not undermine efforts exerted at the international level to reach an end to the Israeli occupation, the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its Capital, and prosecution of Israel for war crimes it committed against our unarmed people,” said the statement.

The United States, European Union, and other international countries denounced Israel’s freeze of PA’s tax revenues. While various calls were made to urge Israel to transfer the money, it continues to refuse.

The US denounced Israel’s decision to halt the transfer of tax revenues, saying it could raise tensions. The US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said, ‘We are opposed to any actions that raise tensions. And obviously, this is one that raises tensions.”

She reiterated that the US administration believed the Palestinian bid to join the ICC was “entirely counter-productive and does nothing to further the aspirations of the Palestinian people for a sovereign and independent state,’ reported media outlets.

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said in a statement, ‘The decision of the Israeli government to halt the transfer of tax revenues to the Palestinian Authority runs counter to Israel’s obligations under the Paris Protocol [signed by Israel and Palestine in 1994 under a deal providing limited Palestinian self-rule in the West Bank and Gaza Strip],’ reported media outlets.