In September, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund warned donor nations attending the opening sessions of the United Nations that the ongoing financial crisis in Gaza and the West Bank threatened to bring down the Palestinian Authority (PA).
Facing a $400 million shortfall in its annual $2.5 billion budget, the PA, also the biggest employer in Gaza and the West Bank, has adopted austerity measures leading to high unemployment and civil unrest.
The shortfall is a result of politics and the global economic slowdown. Donor nations such as Saudi Arabia have failed to make promised payments due to falling revenues. Payments from the U.S. fell dramatically after the PA appealed to the Security Council for recognition as a member state. Congress promptly voted to withhold regular payments to the PA.
The State Department has restored some of those funds, but is threatening to withhold more if the PA does not return to the negotiations for a two-state solution with Israel.
Oussama Kanaan, one of the International Monetary Fund officials who commissioned the report, discussed the PA financial crisis with Khaled Elgindy of the Brookings Institution and Robert Danin of the Council on Foreign Relations
Hussein Ibish of the American Task Force on Palestine moderated this event hosted by the Middle East Institute.