Secretary General of the Arab League Ahmed Abul Gheit
CAIRO, June 23 (MENA) - Secretary General of the Arab League Ahmed Abul Gheit said on Sunday that the deficit in the Palestinian Authority's budget amounted to 700 million dollars due to the arbitrary financial practices exercised by Israeli occupation authorities.
Addressing an emergency meeting of the Arab finance ministers, Abul Gheit said the Palestinian Authority suffers from limited financial resources and revenues, noting that tax proceeds account for 70 percent of Palestinian revenues.
Abul Gheit said activating a 100-million-dollar Arab financial safety network to boost the Palestinian Authority's budget has now become a necessity.
The Palestinian Authority has been struggling to pay salaries of civil servants since February when Israel announced it was deducting five percent of the revenues it transfers monthly to the PA from tax collected on imports that reach the occupied West Bank and Hamas-run Gaza Strip via Israeli ports.
Abul Gheit referred to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' address at an emergency meeting of the Arab League in April, saying Abbas discussed in detail the difficult economic conditions the Palestinians are enduring due to continued Israeli tax deductions and dwindling US aid.
He lauded Abbas' refusal to accept any tax revenues from Israel after its deduction decision.
This Palestinian stance is much admired and requires from all Arabs to stand by it because Israel has no right to deduce any sum from Palestinian funds, he added.
Secretary of the Tunisian Finance Ministry Abdel Rahman el Kheshtali said the meeting aims at activating the Arab financial safety network to support the Palestinian Authority financially to be able to fulfill its tasks under tough economic conditions imposed by Israel.
He renewed the call for taking effective steps to activate relevant Arab resolutions as regards the Palestinian Authority, especially Tunis summit resolution on setting up an Arab financial safety net.
He expressed the Arab countries' keenness on boosting the legitimate rights of Palestinians.