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Palestine to 'gradually disengage' from Israel

April 30, 2019 12:18 P.M. (Updated: May 1, 2019 2:39 P.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- Palestinian Prime Minister Muhammad Ishtayeh said on Monday that the Palestinian side “will work on gradually disengaging from Israel, strengthening the national economy, and promoting the industrial and agricultural sectors,” in order to create job opportunities and reduce the unemployment rate.

Ishtayeh met with with Sweden's State Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Annika Soder, in Ramallah City, in the central occupied West Bank, where they discussed the latest political developments in the Palestinian territories and the peace process.

Ishatayeh reiterated that Palestinians will not surrender nor accept anything that does not meet their minimal legitimate rights, despite the difficult political situation and the financial war we are facing.

He affirmed the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) commitment to continue stipends to the families of Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli prisons for resisting the Israeli occupation and those killed by Israeli forces.

Ishtayeh also stressed that the continuation of Israeli piracy of Palestinian money will not be accepted and pointed out the need to check all financial matters with Israel to force it to “stop stealing Palestinian funds.”

In mid-February, Israel's security cabinet approved the deduction of $138 million from the tax revenues it collects on behalf of the PA under the Oslo agreement.

The deduction is deemed to be relative to the said amount that the PA allocates for stipends paid to Palestinian prisoners in Israeli custody, as well as the families of the prisoners.

It is noteworthy that Israel collects funds from imports into the West Bank and Gaza, in addition to other taxes, and forwards a large sum of it to the PA, after deduction of payments for water and electricity.

Earlier in April, the Arab League Council pledged to activate a financial safety network of $100 million per month to the PA to meet the political and financial pressures facing the Palestinian government.

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