U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Saturday echoed comments made by his spokeswoman last week and expressed concern about the viability of the Palestinian Authority (PA) if it does not soon receive tax revenue which has been withheld by Israel, Reuters reported.
The funds have been held back from the PA since last month in retaliation for its moves to join the International Criminal Court (ICC).
The issue of funding for the PA was raised in talks between Kerry and British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond in London, according to Reuters. Kerry warned of another crisis in the region if the Palestinians did not receive funding.
"If the Palestinian Authority ceases, or were to cease security cooperation, or even decide to disband as a result of their economic predicament, and that could happen in the future if they don't receive additional revenues, then we would be faced by yet another crisis," Kerry was quoted as having told a news conference.
"We are working hard to prevent that from happening and that is why we have been reaching out to key stakeholders to express these concerns and also to try to work together to find a solution to this challenge," he said, without elaborating.
Similar remarks were made last week by State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki, who voiced fears that the PA may be about to collapse due to a lack of funding.
"It's true we're very concerned about the continued viability of the Palestinian Authority if they do not receive funds soon," she told reporters. Psaki made clear those funds include the resumption of Israel transferring taxes it collects for the PA as per the 1993 Oslo Accords.
The World Bank warned last year that war in Gaza would contribute to a reversal of seven years of growth in the Palestinian economy.
The PA has repeatedly asked for foreign donations, claiming it is on the verge of collapse due to a worsening financial crisis.
While blaming Israel for the PA’s financial woes, its chairman Mahmoud Abbas continues to spend six percent of the PA’s annual budget to pay $4.5 million a month to jailed terrorists and another $6.5 million to their families.