Norway agrees to transfer frozen resources to aid Palestine

Norway has agreed to help transfer frozen Palestinian Authority (PA) tax money collected by Israel, the Norwegian government said on Sunday, providing the organization with vital funding.

In a deal agreed with Israeli and Palestinian officials, Norway will act as an intermediary to keep the proceeds that Israel has withheld since October 7.

The interim solution would resume payments and prevent the PA from collapsing financially, allowing it to pay salaries and provide basic services such as schools and health care, Norway said.

“This is necessary to ensure stability in the region and for the Chamber to have legitimacy among its population,” said Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Store.

Under an interim peace agreement signed in the 1990s, Israel’s Finance Ministry collects taxes on behalf of the Palestinians and makes monthly transfers to the Palestinians, but a dispute over the payments emerged after the October 7 attack by Hamas.

According to a representative of the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the portion of the revenue that Norway will retain is equal to Israel’s estimate for the Gaza Strip. “Therefore, the Palestinian Authority is willing to accept other means,” Norway said.

Access to revenue is essential to the survival of the PA, which enjoys limited autonomy in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

Several Western countries, including the United States, also want the chamber to play a role in running the Gaza Strip if the war ends.

On November 2, Israel said it would transfer tax revenues to the PA in the West Bank, but withhold funds in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, where the PA helps cover public sector salaries as well as medical and social programs.

But on November 6, the PA said it wanted the money in full and would not accept conditions that prevented it from paying staff. It is estimated that it spends about 30% of its budget on Gaza.

On January 21, Israeli officials announced that the government had approved a plan to freeze tax funds earmarked for the Gaza Strip, which belonged to Norway, rather than going to the PA.

source: https://www.ertnews.gr/eidiseis/diethni/norvigia-symfonise-gia-metafora-pagomenon-poron-pros-dieykolynsi-tis-palaistiniakis-arxis/

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