RAMALLAH, West Bank – Israel was to annex large swaths of the West Bank, with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas taking a painful step in June over Israel’s refusal to accept taxes collected, which was more than 60 percent of the authority. Budget.
Then last month, Israel suspended the attachment plan as part of its agreement to normalize relations with the UAE. Because the annexation is a possibility, however, Mr. Abbas is still refusing to take the money, which some Palestinian officials have said privately is an effort to save face to bring about further changes in Israeli policy.
And so when Mr. Abbas seeks some gesture from Israel that he can hold as a victory, and Israel refuses to commit to leave permanently, not paying salaries in the area , Families are suffering, and the Palestinian Authority is turning to bankruptcy.
Diplomats have prompted Mr. Abbas to relocate, and even some senior Palestinian officials are grumbling about the futility of his position.
But meanwhile, Abu Qusay, a school student in Hebron paid by the Palestinian Authority, has stopped buying meat for dinner. He has canceled his Internet service, skipped neighborhood events where he is expected to bring gifts, avoided using his car, and turned off the lights with his wife and four sons and the younger There is an appeal to rain.
Abu Qusay, 37, said, “I can hardly get a salary at my normal salary.” Along with thousands of other authority employees, he said he has not received his monthly salary – $ 1,030 – in June and only half his salary since. “Now, I think I can’t breathe,” he said. “I am struggling to put food on the table for my children.”
The rejection of the financial transfer from Israel meant paying more than $ 100 million a month in import taxes, which Israel collects on behalf of the Palestinians. This was one of the more drastic elements of a desperate strategy by Mr. Abbas to try to prevent the outrage by cutting all types of coordination with Israel.
When the possibility of annexation appeared, many Palestinians accepted the pay cut as a necessary national sacrifice. But then, Israel backed down.
Disarming the Palestinians, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu insisted to his right-wing supporters that he had not in fact abandoned his plan to impose Israeli sovereignty over the West Bank, only to have it suspended. Therefore Mr. Abbas simply could not declare victory.
The deal with the UAE was not done in coordination with the Palestinians and was part of a normalization deal that they opposed. And from the Palestinian point of view, suspense annexation was not enough: they wanted it to be repealed.
As a result, Mr. Abbas refused to return things.
Diplomats meeting with him say that Mr. Abbas is intent on making some new concessions from Israel, with which the Palestinian public must assure that his rejection of funds, and the long hardship of his summer, were not all in vain.
Mr. Abbas’s office and several of his senior colleagues all declined to comment.
When the British Foreign Secretary, Dominic Rabb, encouraged Mr. Abbas to take the money at a meeting in Ramalla last week, Mr. Abbas replied, “What in return?” According to the person familiar with the details of the exchange.
In the meantime, however, Palestinian experts are warning that Mr. Abbas’s administration may soon break down.
“I don’t think they have gone too far,” says Raja Khalidi, an economist who runs a research institute in the Ramayana. Local banks will soon reach a point at which they will be unable to lend money to the authority, he said. “Not that there are some slash funds from which they are able to pull.”
The Palestinian Authority has survived without tax transfers lasting several months in the past, but an epidemic affecting its economy while doing so has made the situation even more precarious, Mr. Khalidi said.
According to officials’ talks, the European Union, the United Nations, Britain and several Arab countries have all urged the Palestinian Authority to resume to accept transfers from Israel.
Last week EU representative for the Palestinians, Sven Kuhn von Bergsdorff, said, “The Palestinian Authority’s fiscal position is very clear and clearly unstable without the acceptance of the transfer of tax revenue collected by Israel.”
“They are revenue Palestinians and must be moved and accepted despite political tensions,” he said. “If no solution can be found, the entire system may collapse.”
Mr. Abbas told a group of Palestinian officials last week that he remained opposed to accepting tax money under decades-old economic agreements with Israel governing those transfers. This opened the door to accepting money on new terms. But he did not propose.
Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammad Shatayh has suggested that Mr. Abbas is refusing to accept the transfers because Israel demands that Palestinians first deal directly with Israeli authorities.
But Israeli security officials deny that Israel has placed any conditions on transferring taxes to Ramallah, and say the Palestinians only need to make decisions to accept them.
The longer the deadlock persists, the more it is strengthening the patience and patience of the Palestinian Authority’s workforce.
Although some employees said they value “national views” above financial reasons, others said it highlighted a connection between Mr. Abbas and the Palestinian rank-and-file.
“He made the decision, but he is not paying the price for it,” said Hebron’s teacher Abu Qusay. “I am paying the price. The President’s life has not changed at all. He still has cars, bodyguards and everything he will ever need. “
Some criticisms stirred Mr. Abbas into his group. In early June, Nasir al-Kidwa, a member of the Fatah Central Committee, questioned the rejection of transfers at a briefing with reporters. Officials say that in recent weeks, senior Fatah leaders have privately called Mr. Abbas’s position retaliatory.
The Palestinian Authority’s former Minister of Information, Nabil Amr, said he thought the authority should accept tax transfers until Israel tries to withdraw anything in return, repeatedly “our money”.
Discontent has not yet boiled over, in part because Palestinians who work for the right are generally openly criticizing the leadership for fear of retaliation.
An officer of the Palestinian security forces, who insisted on anonymity, said his financial situation had deteriorated so much that he had sold his only car, left his family without air-conditioning despite the heat and his daughter Went to school to save bus fare. His monthly salary has been increased from $ 735 to $ 515.
“I feel completely incompetent,” said the 31-year-old officer based in Hebron. “My heart broke the other day when I told my son that I couldn’t buy a $ 7 toy. He asked me to buy it for him.”
And a civil servant named Maihar in Ramalla, who withdrew his last name and ministry where he works for fear of reprisal, said that his life was turned upside down.
Not only was his salary down to $ 2,060 which was halved, but he has also lost a side job translating to international conferences as they have all been canceled on coronaviruses. They said that they were troubled by debt and were struggling for bare people.
“I wanted to be a good person,” said Maher, 52, a father of three. “Now, I feel helpless. Completely helpless. “