US denies telling banks to stop working with Palestinians

Palestinians believe eastern parts of Jerusalem to be the capital of Palestine. (AFP)
Updated 12 February 2019
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US denies telling banks to stop working with Palestinians

  • Palestinian officials said the US asked banks to stop working with Palestinian Authorities
  • The US decreased annual aid to Palestinians by more than $500 million after increasing tensions between the two after Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital

RAMALLAH: The United States has denied accusations it is pressuring banks to stop dealing with the Palestinian government, whose relations with Washington have been plummeting.
Several Palestinian officials have accused the US of trying to force banks not to deal with transactions linked to the Palestinian Authority, which has limited self-rule in the occupied West Bank.
“The United States has not requested that foreign donors restrict assistance to the Palestinians, nor has it requested that financial institutions cease transfers to Palestinian Authority (PA) bank accounts,” a US official told AFP late Monday.
“We are aware of media reports suggesting this has occurred. Those reports are incorrect.”
On Sunday, senior Palestinian official Hussein Al-Sheikh charged that Washington was launching a “financial siege” on the PA.
“Major international financial institutions and parties have begun to accede to an American request to impose a tight financial siege on the Palestinian Authority,” he told AFP.
“Washington has asked for financial aid given to the authority to be stopped, and it has also issued a circular to banks not to receive transfers for the authority’s accounts.”
Palestinian foreign minister Riyad Al-Maliki has said on local radio that the US was using “all means to press Arab countries to stop financial support for our people.”
Relations between the US and the Palestinians have broken down since President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in late 2017.
The Palestinians consider the eastern part of the city their capital and have boycotted the Trump administration since.
In response the US has cut more than $500 million in annual aid to the Palestinians, mostly to the United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees.
The cuts have worsened long term financial shortfalls for the PA, which is heavily reliant on international aid.


Tunisian police and protesters clash after death at police station

Policemen stand guard in Tunis. (AFP)
Updated 17 February 2019
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Tunisian police and protesters clash after death at police station

  • Tunisian activists say abuses by security forces have continued, albeit at a lower rate, since the 2011 revolution that overthrew the regime of President Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali

TUNIS: Police in Tunisia fired tear gas on Saturday to disperse demonstrators who protested after a young man died inside a police station near the coastal resort of Hammamet, witnesses said.
The young man was arrested on Friday after a fight between groups of youths in the town of Barraket Essahel, 60 km (37 miles) southeast of the capital Tunis, according to locals. While it was not immediately clear how he died, demonstrators blamed the security forces.
In a statement, the Interior Ministry said the young man had fainted after reaching the police station and died despite officers’ efforts to revive him. It said a judge had ordered an investigation.
Police in Barraket Essahel were not immediately available to comment.
Tunisian activists say abuses by security forces have continued, albeit at a lower rate, since the 2011 revolution that overthrew the regime of President Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali.