- Title: Israel to give Palestinians coronavirus loan amid prisoner payments dispute
- Date: 11th May 2020
- Summary: HEBRON, WEST BANK (MAY 10, 2020) (REUTERS) PROTESTERS WEARING MASKS AND HOLDING PALESTINIAN FLAGS PROTESTER WEARING MASK (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) PROTESTER, HISHAM AL-SHRBATI, SAYING: "We refuse the occupation's decision that prevents the Palestinian banks from opening accounts for the Palestinian prisoners. We say that this is a criminalisation for the legitimate Palestinian national struggle as long as there is occupation. This occupational step is considered a violation against the authority and sovereignty of the Palestinian Authority, the ruling authority on this land and over the Palestinian people." PALESTINIAN PROTESTERS CHANTING AGAINST CLOSING PALESTINIAN PRISONERS' ACCOUNTS POSTER READING (Arabic): "A STAND OF GLORY WITH OUR VALIANT PRISONERS"
- Embargoed: 25th May 2020 16:30
- Keywords: Banks Israel Palestinians Prisoners
- Location: RAMALLAH, JERICHO, HEBRON, WEST BANK/ GAZA CITY, GAZA/ JERUSALEM
- City: RAMALLAH, JERICHO, HEBRON, WEST BANK/ GAZA CITY, GAZA/ JERUSALEM
- Country: Palestinian Territories
- Topics: Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA003CDHLM51
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Israel will loan the Palestinian Authority (PA) 800 million shekels ($227 million) to help its economy weather the coronavirus crisis, officials said on Monday (May 11), even as the PA accuses Israel of targeting banks in a dispute over prisoners.
The PA expects its tax revenues to decline by more than 50 percent due to reduced trade during the pandemic. It requested a loan from Israel, which collects duties on the PA's behalf, to be repaid out of future tax revenues.
Israel's finance ministry said the transfers would begin at the end of May.
Heavily reliant on foreign aid, the PA faced a financial crisis last year after it rejected tax transfers from Israel amid a dispute over payments given to the families of Palestinian prisoners and those killed in the conflict.
That spat re-emerged last week, with Palestinian officials accusing Israel of using a new military order to force banks in the occupied West Bank to close the families' accounts.
Israel has long sought to end the payments the PA makes to around 11,000 individuals and families. The Palestinians consider them stipends for victims of Israeli occupation, but Israel calls the payments a reward for violence.
Under the new military order, Palestinians who facilitate the payments could be fined or jailed for up to seven years. The order took effect on Saturday.
Fearing exposure, Palestinian banks last week began shutting down the accounts of some families and former prisoners -- drawing a backlash that has drawn protests and seen night-time attacks on bank branches.
The banks on Friday agreed to pause the account closures while a committee of monetary officials, banking representatives and prisoner groups "studies the crisis" and decides how to respond.
(Production: Wafa Abu Mizyed, Saed Howari, Adel abu Nemeh, Saed Howari, Rami Ayyub, Suheir Sheikh)
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