Saudis stops monthly payments to Palestinian Authority

by WorldTribune Staff, October 26, 2016

Saudi Arabia has halted its $20 million monthly payment to the Palestinian Authority (PA).

The PA said the Saudi government gave no reason for cutting off the funding, which began six months ago.

Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas. /Reuters
Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas. /Reuters

Some sources believe the funding cut was due to a falling out between Riyadh and PA President Mahmoud Abbas.

Abbas said earlier this year that Arab leaders should stop meddling in internal Palestinian affairs — rare public criticism of Arab allies by a leader whose people depend on Arab financial and diplomatic support.

In recent weeks, Abbas has had heated exchanges with a number of Arab leaders who have been pressuring him to patch up differences within Fatah and make peace with former Gaza strongman Mohammad Dahlan, considered a main rival.

Those leaders have included King Salman of Saudi Arabia, Egyptian President Abdul Fatah Sisi, Jordan’s King Abdullah and United Arab Emirates President Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

Dahlan is regarded as close to the UAE’s ruler and the Egyptian president, and his name has been mentioned as a contender to replace Abbas when the time comes.

The Abbas-Dahlan feud began after Dahlan made corruption allegations against the PA president’s two businessman sons in 2010.

With around $120 million of Saudi aid having been withheld so far, the freeze in funds threatens to cause serious budgetary problems for the Palestinian Authority.

Earlier this month, the PA lost another key source of funding when the UK cut a third of its aid to Ramallah because of the PA’s payment of stipends to the families of convicted terrorists who are serving time in Israel.

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