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Palestinian Authority Turns to Russia to Save it From Economic Collapse

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, Photo, AP archive

JERUSALEM, Israel - The Palestinian Authority is urging Russia to help solve its financial crisis after Israel began deducting terror salaries from its monthly transfer of tax revenues to the PA.

The Jerusalem Post reported Friday that the PA rejected a solution from the European Union to provide funds to Palestinian terrorists' families on a needs-based system, but refused to give any money to terrorists themselves.

"There have been attempts to find alternative channels to pay the prisoners and martyrs allowances, which we will not accept," PA Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Information Nabil Abu Rudaineh said on Thursday.

"Israel must pay the whole funds without any deductions," Rudaineh continued, adding that Israel "must honor all agreements and pay the funds in full."

PA President Mahmoud Abbas met with head of the Russian Representative Office in Ramallah Aganin Rashidovich on Thursday and discussed the PA's financial crisis with him.

The Jerusalem Post did not say what the Russian response was.

Abbas claims that Israel's decision to deduct terror salaries from the monthly transfer of tax revenues to the PA has put the Palestinian economy on the verge of collapse.

The Palestinian Authority is protesting Israel's decision by refusing to accept any of its tax revenues, which according to the UN, makes up 65% of the PA's budget.

On Thursday, Israel's public broadcaster KAN reported that the PA rejected and returned to Israel the tax and tariff revenues that it had received at the beginning of the week, which totaled to about NIS 500 million ($138.8 million). Palestinian officials said this was the third time the PA has refused to accept the money since the beginning of the year.

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