Israel Frees Up Palestinian Funds

Unfreezing of tax revenues reflects support for Abbas
By Caroline Zimmerman,  Newser User
Posted Jun 24, 2007 4:52 PM CDT
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, right, and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, attend the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, Sunday, June 24, 2007. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on Sunday asked his Cabinet...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – In a show of support for Mahmoud Abbas, Israel will release about half of the tax revenue withheld from the Palestinian government since 2006. The Israeli parliament authorized the unfreezing of some $350 million today, making the release of the rest of the funds contingent on the progress of the moderate pro-Western regime Abbas has set up in the West Bank.

The Palestinian Authority has been incapable of fully paying its employees for over a year, the Washington Post reports, and Palestinian officials criticized today's decision, saying the funds aren't enough to contain Hamas. Abbas will have a chance to take up the issue with Israeli PM Ehud Olmert when they meet at a summit scheduled to begin tomorrow in Egypt.