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.


Three Palestinians killed by Israeli soldiers at Gaza border: ministry

Updated 18 August 2019
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Three Palestinians killed by Israeli soldiers at Gaza border: ministry

  • Attack helicopter and tank had fired at ‘armed suspects’ along the barrier that separates Israel from the Gaza Strip

GAZA CITY, Palestinian Territories: Three Palestinians were killed by Israeli soldiers in the northern Gaza Strip, the Palestinian health ministry said Sunday, hours after three rockets were fired at Israel from the blockaded enclave.

The ministry said another Palestinian was hospitalized in the shooting that came after the Israeli army said an attack helicopter and tank had fired at “armed suspects” along the barrier that separates Israel from Gaza.

“We just identified a number of armed suspects from Gaza approaching the security fence with Israel. We fired toward them,” the army said a statement posted on its Twitter account.

The latest violence came after Palestinians in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip fired three rockets at southern Israel late Saturday, the Israeli army said, in the second such attack in 24 hours.

There were no immediate reports of casualties.

The army said two of the projectiles had been intercepted by its Iron Dome aerial defense system but it did not specify what happened to the third rocket.

Air raid sirens had sounded in the southern town of Sderot and its surroundings.

On Friday Palestinians in Gaza fired a rocket at Sderot, in what the army said was the first such attack since July 12.

In response, Israeli warplanes struck at least three targets in the Gaza Strip early on Saturday but caused no casualties, a Palestinian security source said.

The strikes hit a Hamas observation post in Beit Hanoun, in the northern Gaza Strip, an unidentified target near Gaza City and open ground near Deir El Balah in the central part of the territory, the source said.

An Israeli army statement mentioned only two strikes, against “underground targets belonging to the Hamas terror organization in the northern and central Gaza Strip.”

Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza, ruled by Islamist movement Hamas, have fought three wars since 2008.

And since March 2018, regular protests and clashes have erupted along the border of the blockaded coastal enclave.

At least 305 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire in Gaza or the border area since then, the majority during demonstrations and clashes.

Seven Israelis have also been killed in Gaza-related violence over the same period.