update deskIsrael-Palestinian Conflict

Norway says PA received $114 million from Israel

Oslo said more unfrozen funds will be paid to Ramallah in the coming days.

Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas at a meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Ramallah, May 25, 2021. Credit: Flash90.
Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas at a meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Ramallah, May 25, 2021. Credit: Flash90.

Norway announced on Thursday that the Palestinian Authority received 407 million shekels ($114 million) from Israel as part of a deal earlier this month between Oslo and Jerusalem to unfreeze tax funds for Ramallah.

The Scandinavian country on Feb. 18 agreed to serve as an intermediary to transfer funds earmarked for the P.A. that were frozen in the wake of the Oct. 7 Hamas-led massacre in southern Israel. Oslo said that more funds would be transferred in the coming days.

“This money is absolutely necessary to prevent the collapse of the Palestinian Authority, to ensure that the Palestinians receive vital services, and that teachers and health workers are paid,” said Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere.

Israel’s Security Cabinet last month approved a decision to freeze funds from reaching the Palestinian Authority that the latter planned to send to the Gaza Strip. Instead, Jerusalem decided to channel the money to a third party, Norway, for safekeeping.

The decision, which enjoys U.S. backing, prevents Gaza-earmarked funds from reaching the P.A. “under any circumstances” unless approved by the finance minister, the Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement.

Israel’s Finance Ministry collects taxes and customs duties on behalf of the P.A., which it transfers to the entity monthly.

On Nov. 2, although agreeing to send the revenue to the P.A., the Security Cabinet voted to freeze funds equivalent to those the P.A. sends to the Gaza Strip. The decision came at the insistence of Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich because it could end up in the hands of Hamas.

Although Hamas seized control of Gaza from the P.A. in June 2007, Ramallah still makes payments to its employees in Gaza.

The P.A. earmarks an estimated 275 million shekels, or $73 million, for Gaza each month.

Since Hamas’s Oct. 7 massacre, the P.A. has added thousands of Palestinians to its list of people who qualify to receive monthly terror stipends.

P.A. officials announced that 3,550 additional terrorists imprisoned in Israel will receive payouts, according to Palestinian Media Watch.

Of the 3,550 terrorists, 661 are Hamas members from the Gaza Strip.

Shortly after Oct. 7, the P.A. agreed to immediately pay $3 million to the Hamas terrorists who carried out the attack.

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