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Common Dreams

Palestinian Authority Calls on Int'l Community to Pressure Israel Over Financial Stranglehood

by
Jacob Chamberlain, staff writer

European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton poses with Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad after signing a financial agreement in Brussels March 19, 2013.(Reuters/Francois Lenoir)

Warning of possible "political collapse," the Palestinian Authority has issued a report calling on the international community for help to ease its financial crisis, to pressure Israel to release Palestinian-owned revenues held hostage since its bid for UN status, and for a life without checkpoints in the occupied West Bank.

In the report seen by Agence France-Presse, the P.A. asks for the fiscal help "required to maintain basic functions and services" in the illegally occupied territories to make up for the hundreds of millions of dollars in tariffs and revenue that have been held hostage by Israel.

The P.A. also emphasizes that Israel's current monopoly of Area C—which is comprised of 60 percent of land in the West Bank and Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem—reverts billions of dollars away from West Bank economy, including up to $2.25 billion in agricultural production per year.

According to AFP, the report also demands "access to all roads in Area C and the removal of all checkpoints in the West Bank to allow freedom of movement."

The report urges "international partners, particularly those within the Arab region, to consider the implications of the current fiscal crisis and a possible slide into institutional and political collapse" in the West Bank.

"The recent confiscation of Palestinian-owned revenues by Israel comes on top of an already severe fiscal crisis that was caused by a large shortfall of external support," it continues.

In response to the P.A.'s urgent requests, EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton signed a financial agreement worth 7 million euros ($9 million) on Tuesday with the P.A. before a donor meeting in Brussels.

"This agreement is aimed at supporting the Palestinian presence and promoting social and economic development in Area C, which we all know is of crucial importance for the economic viability of Palestine," Ashton said in a EU press release.

However, no mention of of immediate Palestinian "access to all roads in Area C and the removal of all checkpoints in the West Bank to allow freedom of movement," has been mentioned at the meeting.

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