The European Union urged Israel on Wednesday, April 11, to release an estimated $120 million in Palestinian tax receipts it has been holding on to since December.
"The EU expressed the clear message that Israel has to pay its tax revenues to the Palestinians," Swedish State Secretary Gunn-Britt Andersson told a news conference after an informal meeting of donor countries for the Palestinian authority.
"Even if Israel pays, there will be a need of $35 million per month, or $300 million to October," she added. She was speaking for Sweden, which currently holds the rotating EU presidency.
The current crisis between the Israelis and the Palestinians has brought about a 50 percent drop in the Palestinian Authority's gross domestic product.
Wednesday's meeting of a special committee of donors was called to prepare a donor meeting at ministerial level for the Palestinian Authority, penciled in for the end of June.
The EU, the United States, Canada, Japan, a number of European countries which are not in the EU and Arab countries, along with the international financial institutions like the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank were represented at the meeting.
Saudi Arabia told the meeting it was giving 225 million dollars to the Palestinian Authority, and that it had already released some of it to help build schools there, Andersson said. — (AFP, Stockholm)
© Agence France Presse 2001
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)