Israeli Defense establishment is expected to advise Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to transfer to the Palestinian Authority NIS 250 million in tax revenues, which he froze following the Hamas ‘wining in the elections of the Palestinian Legislative Council He said he will review his decision after a cabinet meeting on Sunday with the defense establishment.
After her visit to Egypt, Israel Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, who advised to hold off the transfer, might change her mind, realizing that it would take several weeks for a new Palestinian government to be formed.
Israeli Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz and a team headed by Prime Minister ‘s adviser Dov Weissglas decided to recommend unfreezing the tax revenues Israel collects for the PA and transferring the money once a month to the Palestinian Finance Ministry. The most recent transfer of funds was scheduled for last Wednesday.
However, the present Palestinian government is still under Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s control, and talks on the establishment of a new cabinet, headed by Hamas, are expected to take several weeks.
In his letter to the Israeli government, acting Palestinian Finance Minster, Jihad Wazir, stated that the money will be used to cover budgetary shortfalls and that the PA intended to spend it all in the coming days. He pledged that the money will only be dealt with by the existing government and would not fall into other hands.
Israel’s decision came in the wake of a decision by the international community, headed by the Quartet, to continue assistance to the PA as long as there is no change in its government. The Quartet’s representatives have asked Israel to fulfill its part in financing the PA by transferring the tax monies.