WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senators John Hickenlooper, Michael Bennet, and Mark Warner, along with nine other senators, sent a letter to President Biden sounding the alarm about the economic deterioration in the West Bank. The lawmakers stressed the need for Israel to take steps to address growing instability by ensuring that the Palestinian Security Forces are able to ward off violence against innocent Palestinian civilians and prevent further destabilization, which could open an additional front to the conflict.
The letter follows a decision by Israel to withhold a significant portion of tax revenues that its government collects on behalf of the Palestinian Authority (PA). These revenues – meant to be collected and transferred based on longstanding agreement – are critical for the PA’s civil administration and security purposes.
“In addition to harming the well-being of Palestinians, the current lack of revenue transfers directly threatens the economic standing of the security services in the West Bank,” wrote the senators. “Absent these funds, salaries for the more than 30,000 members of the Palestinian Security Forces cannot be paid in full. The possibility of these forces declining to serve, absent pay – and the possibility of militant groups attempting to step in and financially coerce these services – represents a significant security threat, risking the opening of a new front to this conflict to the detriment of Israeli and regional security.”
Full text of the letter available here.