On Wednesday 23rd of March, Finance Minister Shukri Bishara called on Norwegian Foreign Minister Anneken Heitfeldt to pressure Israel to resolve long-standing financial files, stop unilateral deductions from clearance funds, and release withheld funds.
This came when Bishara received, today, Wednesday, in his office in Ramallah, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Norway and the delegation accompanying her.
Bishara briefed the delegation on the latest developments in the Palestinian financial situation and discussed with them the priorities that will be discussed at the next donors’ meeting.
Bishara briefed the Norwegian delegation on the financial situation in Palestine and gave them an overview of the parameters of the 2022 budget, and the measures taken by the Israeli government to deduct amounts from tax revenue funds, which are the funds of the Palestinian people.
The issue of deducting clearance funds isn’t a new one. It is worth mentioning that it curries a multifaceted impact on the Palestinian economy.
In a press release in 2015, Bishara stated, “In light of the status quo, and with clearing revenues acquiring 70% of the Authority’s income, their seizure by the Israeli occupation means that the occupation systematically seeks to undermine and challenge the Palestinian economy. Our commitments are not limited to salaries (he refers to the Palestinian liberation organization, PLO),
He added, “We are also committed to private vendors and service providers. There are also institutions and ministries, such as health, education, and the interior, that need operating expenses to maintain their ability to provide services to citizens, not to mention that salaries are a key driver of the market.
He sum-up saying, “Withholding these revenues harms employees, banks, and the private sector as a whole. The whole economic cycle has been affected as a result of these illegal and illogical measures. The focus of the international community is required to be directed towards the immediate release of these dues.”