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Palestinian PM to Kick off European Tour to Garner Financial, Political Support

Palestinian PM to Kick off European Tour to Garner Financial, Political Support

Monday, 25 October, 2021 - 10:15
Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh. (Reuters)

Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh said the Palestinian Authority will launch an international campaign to curb Israeli aggression against Palestinians.


Speaking at a weekly cabinet meeting, he indicated that Israeli settlements are illegal violations against Palestinian lives.


The international community, namely the US, is responsible for Israel’s settlement programs and should confront it and challenge the fait accompli imposed by Tel Aviv, he urged.


The PM also addressed Israel’s decision last week to classify six Palestinian institutions as terrorist organizations, saying it violates international laws.


Shtayyeh will embark on a European tour aimed at uniting efforts and gaining political and financial support.


Government spokesman Ibrahim Melhem said the tour would include three countries, where he is scheduled to participate in a donors’ conference in Brussels.


He will also attend the UN Climate Conference (COP26) in Glasgow, Britain.


The PM will urge European countries to support the peace process, resume support for the Palestinian government’s budget, and pressure Israel to remove obstacles barring elections in occupied Jerusalem.


Shtayyeh’s advisor Estephan Salameh said the government is experiencing its "most difficult" financial crisis.


He told reporters that the government is expected to only receive ten percent of its usual donations by the end of this year.


Salameh stated, however, that support for projects in Palestinian territories have not been affected. However, funding to pay the salaries of the PA’s civil servants, low-income families’ pensions, and the government’s expenditures have.


He expected the Palestinian government to witness a "breakthrough" in the financial crisis at the beginning of next year, with the resumption of European support, which faltered this year due to technical issues.


Palestinian officials have previously warned that the PA is suffering from a stifling financial crisis due to Israel’s deduction of Palestinian tax funds, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the decline in international support.


The Ministry of Finance announced that the PA had received just $31.7 million in total foreign budget support this year, compared to the $446 million received by the end of August 2019.


Salameh said that Shtayyeh would discuss on his tour European pledges and the need to commit to them for the current and next year. He said he was hopeful of a breakthrough.


Head of EU’s media office in Jerusalem, Shadi Othman announced last week the bloc’s commitment to supporting social affairs allocations to Palestinian families, saying they will be available at the beginning of 2022.


Othman expected the payments to be made regularly, similar to previous years, without delay.


Several European countries have already resumed their aid to the Palestinians by disbursing an estimated payment of €92 million for the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA).


The EU will soon disburse payment for the salaries of civil servants of the PA.


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