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Israel promises to release some Palestinian tax funds

January 30, 2013|By Edmund Sanders

JERUSALEM -- Israeli officials promised Wednesday to transfer one-month's worth of Palestinian tax collections to the cash-strapped Palestinian Authority.

But Israel cautioned that the move does not necessarily signal the transfers will resume as usual and that the step was taken to enable the authority to handle its ongoing budgetary crisis.

The money, about $100 million a month, is collected at Israeli ports from Palestinian importers and is supposed to be forwarded to the West Bank. But Israel halted the transfers last fall in response to the Palestinian Authority's successful bid to upgrade its status at the United Nations to nonmember "state."

Palestinian officials confirmed that Israel has promised to make the payment on Wednesday. The authority has been struggling with mounting debt and budget shortfalls for months. It has yet to fully pay November salaries to government employees or any amounts owing since then.

Teachers and some other government employees have been carrying out short-term strikes to protest their lack of salaries.

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