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PA 'hopes to continue basic services' amid financial crisis

Dec. 18, 2012 3:32 P.M. (Updated: Dec. 19, 2012 12:40 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- The Palestinian Authority on Tuesday urged immediate action to prevent the government's collapse, and said it hoped to continue providing basic services.

At its weekly cabinet meeting, the government said it would remain on call until further notice in order to find a solution to the financial crisis, which has provoked mass public sector strikes this week.

The government reiterated Prime Minister Salam Fayyad's appeal this week for Palestinians to boycott Israeli products in response to their seizure of the PA's tax revenues, around $100 million each month.

The cabinet also called for immediate transferal of the so-called Arab safety net, a monthly payment of $100 million agreed at the Arab League last week to cover the government's expenses.

Ministers noted that the monthly shortfall of the government, which was hit by multiple donor cuts, totals $240 million and said it hoped the Arab League would increase the safety net.

They said the government was grateful to civil servants for their understanding. The government employees union announced a mass strike beginning Tuesday until the end of the week after their salaries were not paid.

"The Cabinet also reaffirmed its understanding of the difficult circumstances resulting from this crisis and expressed its hope in the continuation of provision of basic services to the citizens, especially in the education and health sectors," the government statement said.
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