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Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Staye called for strong international support to overcome political and financial challenges, boost reform efforts and advance development plans.

He made these remarks during the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee (AHLC) donor meeting at the UN headquarters in New York.

“It is clear to all of us that the Oslo Accords have disappeared in all aspects: security, political, legal and financial,” he said, calling on the international community to defend the two-state solution.

He accused the Israeli government of working systematically to undermine the establishment of the Palestinian state and push the Palestinian Authority to the brink of collapse through its daily raids on villages, towns and camps, and its policy of killing, arrests and extermination.

The Israeli government is illegally withholding Palestinian funds, in addition to making uncontrolled deductions from electricity, water and sewage bills, Staye added.

He went on to say that “the systematic piracy of Palestinian funds has now exceeded $800 million a year, exceeding our annual deficit by $200 million, which has affected our ability to meet our obligations and pay public sector wages in full.”

Meanwhile, international aid has declined significantly, from 30 percent of the budget to just three percent, he continued.

The Prime Minister informed the attendees about the progress achieved in the implementation of the reform program.

He said the government is on track to finalize the 2024-2029 development plan, which is based on a set of goals that include strengthening the resilience of the Palestinian people, gradually weaning off dependence on Israel by expanding Palestinian economic production and diversification of trade relations, in addition to strengthening and improving services in public institutions.

The Palestinian government is suffering from an ongoing financial crisis, which it says is the worst since its establishment due to continued Israeli withholding of Palestinian tax funds, the effects of the COVID-19 crisis and an unprecedented drop in foreign support.

For the second year in a row, the Palestinian government has been unable to pay all civilian and military salaries, an indication of the ongoing financial crisis, which is expected to worsen as the Israeli government deducts more of the PA’s “clearing” tax revenue funds.

For years, Israel has deducted sums of money from the permit at a rate of more than 200 million shekels per month, including the prices of electricity purchased by distribution companies and the Palestinian Authority from the Israel Electricity Company, water and sewage costs, and a medical allowance.

Finance Minister Shukri Bishara called on the international community to put pressure on the Israelis to stop these deductions, fully restore financial rights, resolve outstanding issues in accordance with international law, and implement major amendments to the Paris Agreement.

During the same meeting, the minister said that the sharp drop in support from donor countries was compounded by a doubling of Israeli deductions.

Bishara also said 2023 was a challenging year for the PA due to Israeli incursions into Palestinian cities, taking a huge toll on the economy and causing GDP to slow to 2.7 percent from 3.9 percent last year.

He also pushed for an amendment to the Paris Agreement, saying it has become a way to control 65 percent of returns and keep the Palestinian economy dependent on Israel.

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