Israeli authorities are expected to transfer some $52 million in Palestinian customs revenues to the Palestinian Authority, which it had thus far withheld. Israel collects such funds, which belong to the Palestinians, on their behalf every month. Israel’s decision to withhold the money followed the Hamas victory in recent Palestinian elections.
Acting Palestinian Finance Minster, Jihad Wazir, reportedly requested that Israel transfer the funds in a letter to the Israeli establishment, in which he pledged that the funds would be directed towards the needs of the Palestinian people and not to support attacks against Israelis.
Last week, the international Quartet asked that Israel transfer the funds, a move that followed its own decision to continue assistance to the PA as long as no change has yet taken place in the Palestinian government.
Israeli military authorities, including Israeli Defense Minister Saul Mofaz, support the transfer of the funds, according to Haaretz, citing that without it, the Palestinian Authority would collapse leaving the responsibility of meeting the basic needs of the Palestinian people on their shoulders.
Acting Israel Prime Minster Ehud Olmert, however, has yet to make a final decision regarding the money. A meeting on Sunday between Olmert and Israeli military personnel is expected to result in a decision regarding the matter.
Several weeks are expected before a new Palestinian government, headed by Hamas, will be formed.