A senior Israeli official reported on Friday that Israel intends to release $100 million of Palestinian tax revenues it withheld, to the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas by Friday, Israeli online daily Haaretz reported.

Haaretz added that the move is part of a U.S-led plan to bolster Abbas and make him able to make the long-due salary payments to government employees.

The United States and Israel led an embargo against the Hamas-led Palestinian government since it was elected last year.

Haaretz also reported that the Israeli Prime minister, Ehud Olmert, has been under pressure from the United States in order to take steps that would bolster Abbas and his power in order to weaken Hamas.

On December 24, Abbas and Olmert met and the latter agreed to take steps that would ease the restriction on the Palestinians. 

Last Sunday, Abbas met with the United States Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, in Ramallah and asked her to intervene is releasing the money Israel withholds.

Meanwhile, a senior Israeli official stated on Monday that Israel hopes to transfer 100 million US Dollar of withheld tax revenue to Abbas by Friday.  

On Tuesday, the Israeli army announced that it removed 44 dirt barriers located near several West Bank villages in order to ease the restrictions of movement in the West Bank. The move comes as part of steps promised to Abbas.

On the ground, at least 350 barriers remained in place; in recent years the army installed nearly 400 barriers in permanent roadblocks in the occupied West Bank.