Sunday, December 9, 2012

Abbas: "We are in a collapsing state now. We can't pay our salaries."

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — The Palestinian president is urging Arab nations to provide major financial assistance to cover a new monthly $100 million budgetary shortfall after U.N. recognition of Palestinian claims to statehood — the result of a punitive Israeli measure.

The appeal by Mahmoud Abbas reflects the severe financial fallout from last month's landmark vote in the U.N. and a fresh push by Palestinians to take advantage of the international momentum to rally Arab backing for peace talks and possible concessions by Israel.

Israel halted the tax transfer funds — customs duties collected on behalf of Palestinians — after last month's U.N. vote to recognize a Palestinian state in the West Bank, east Jerusalem and Gaza Strip, territories captured by Israel in the 1967 Mideast war.

"We are in a collapsing state now. We can't pay our salaries. So you have to offer this safety net. Do you agree, are you committed and how much will you pledge?" he told Arab League delegates meeting in Qatar's capital, Doha. "We have to know your position soon."

Abbas has been facing added pressures after rival Hamas in Gaza received major pledges of aid from Qatar's emir in October.

Arabs to the rescue (allegedly):
Arab states agreed to provide the Palestinian Authority with a $100 million monthly "financial safety net" to help President Mahmoud Abbas's government cope with an economic crisis after the United Nations granted de facto statehood to Palestine. [...]

In a statement issued on Sunday after a meeting in Doha, Arab foreign ministers called for the "immediate implementation" of a resolution passed at an Arab summit in Baghdad in March, which called for the provision of a $100 million monthly safety net.

But the statement did not give details of how the money would be paid or who would pay.

Now that is funny.