The European commission has started social allowance payments to the Palestinian people, an EU source said on Monday. In a statement on Monday the commission said 40,000 of the neediest Palestinian families would be receiving EU funds.
“Families have been identified from those normally supported through the social welfare scheme of the Palestinian Authority and will receive €270 each,” the EU executive said.
“This comes on top of allowances already paid to health workers, those who have suffered a sudden drop in income and pensioners.”
The European Union has froze funds to the Palestinian Authority in accordance with sanctions imposed by the United States and Israel following the formation of the new Palestinian Government by Hamas, who won the Palestinian Parliamentary elections held in January. Israel has seized nearly $480 million dollars in tax and custom revenue due to the Palestinians since March.
Palestinian employees did not receive their paychecks for the past six months. However, they have received some small allowances, which do not cover the payment of two out of the six months.
On the other hand, the EU said, the decision to release payments to families comes alongside calls for the extension of international payments – and an extension of their scope.
“The Middle East Quartet (European Union, United States, Unites Nations and Russia) last week supported an extension of the Temporary International Mechanism (TIM) for a three month period and an expansion of its scope,” the commission added.
But EU external relations commissioner Benita Ferrero Walnder said the payments system alone was not enough to ease the situation in the occupied territories.
“But to really tackle the economic gridlock in the Palestinian Territories, we need both parties to implement the agreement on access and movement and the Israelis to resume transfers of tax and customs revenue that belong to the Palestinians”.
According to the same source, the commission has allocated €105 million to the TIM bringing the total made available from the community budget so far this year to the Palestinian people to €330 million.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has promised to pay salaries of one month by the begining of Ramadan.