Palestinian Authority failing in fiscal transparency, US warns

i24NEWS

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Trucks block a main boulevard as people gather to protest against the Palestinian Authority, high taxes and the cost of living, in the West Bank town of Hebron, on February 6, 2022.
HAZEM BADER / AFPTrucks block a main boulevard as people gather to protest against the Palestinian Authority, high taxes and the cost of living, in the West Bank town of Hebron, on February 6, 2022.

This comes as the West Bank struggles struggles economically

The United States State Department warned that the Palestinian Authority lacked fiscal transparency in its 2022 report, saying it did not provide data on its budget "within a reasonable period, and the data was incomplete."

It continued, "The budget was not approved by the legislature,” noting the “audit reports were not publicly available within a reasonable period and did not cover the entire annual executed budget.” 

The State Department noted that the PA's fiscal transparency could be improved in several ways, including publishing its budget proposal promptly and providing "complete and timely information on debt obligations."

In addition, the report called on the PA to ensure the independence of the supreme audit institution.

This comes amid a period of destabilization within the Palestinian Authority, with an uptick in Israeli raids, while the West Bank struggles economically. 

In early August, the International Monetary Fund visited the West Bank and Gaza, noting their "economy is facing formidable challenges that require comprehensive and coordinated reform." 

On Wednesday, Axios published a report citing two Israeli officials who claimed that the Biden administration urged the Israeli government to take steps to stabilize the PA. 

The State Department's most senior diplomat for the Middle East, Barbara Leaf, visited Israel and the PA earlier this month, meeting with senior officials.

Israel's Shin Bet internal security service head Ronen Bar reportedly told Leaf he is "highly concerned" about the situation with the Palestinians, saying, “The situation on the ground is worse than it seems."

The PA, however, allegedly blames Israel for the state of its security forces.

Israel's Prime Minister Yair Lapid met with defense and military heads at army headquarters on Thursday to discuss rising violence in the West Bank. 

The goal of the meeting was “to look into tools which can immediately stabilize the situation in the [West Bank] and stop it from snowballing,” according to the Prime Minister’s Office. 

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