Tuesday 20 August 2019 - 05:34

Palestinian president sacks all advisors amid financial crisis

Story Code : 811547
Palestinian president sacks all advisors amid financial crisis
Palestinian news agency WAFA, citing a statement by the Palestinian leader’s office, announced the news on Monday, saying he sacked all of his advisors regardless of their title or ranking.

President Abbas “also decided to abolish the decisions and contracts related to them, and to suspend the rights and privileges they received in their capacity as advisors,” the statement added, without providing more details on the number of his advisors, who have been relieved of their duties, or the costs involved.

The decision comes amid a spending crunch created after Israel decided in February to hold back some $10 million a month in tax transfers.

At the time, Israel's cabinet froze about $138 million from within the taxes collected for the Palestinian Authority, stating that the Abbas administration paid the same amount in prisoner stipends in 2018.

The Palestinian president has already accused the occupying regime of blackmail and has so far refused to take any of the tax transfers, which account for some 65 percent of the authority's revenues.

The amount, which totaled around $190 million a month, is collected by the Tel Aviv regime through custom duties imposed on goods and products destined for Palestinian markets that transit through Israeli ports.

The Palestinian Authority has already halved salaries for most of its tens of thousands of employees to keep the government running.

Furthermore, the authority is currently facing steep aid cuts. US President Donald Trump's administration has slashed hundreds of millions of dollars to humanitarian organizations, including $360 million it used to give to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), in a bid to pressure the Palestinians to re-enter so-called peace talks with Israel that collapsed in 2014.

According to Jihad Harb, a Palestinian political analyst, President Abbas appeared to make the decision after reviewing a report he received in June on payments to ministers and officials.

“It is clear that President Abbas received the report from the committee that examined the salaries and benefits of employees,” he told AFP, adding that he wanted “to reduce his office's spending by taking austerity measures to confront the current budget crisis.”