Left: James Wolfensohn, courtesy of Jerusalem Post.
James Wolfensohn, an international envoy, cautioned mediators today that the Palestinian Authority is in danger of financial ruin within two weeks, in part because Israel has stopped the flow of tens of millions of dollars in taxes and custom duties to the incoming Hamas government.
Wolfensohn said a financial crisis could escalate to political violence and chaos. He implored the EU and the US to develop a plan to address the Palestinian revenue situation.
There are 140,000 people drawing paychecks from the Palestinian Authority, including 58,000 security personnel. The likelihood of violence in the region certainly increases in exponential fashion if the security forces do not get paid.
Meanwhile, the European Union today authorized roughly $163 million in emergency aid to help the Palestinians meet essential services until Hamas forms the next government.
Rami Tahboub, an employee of the Palestinian Foreign Ministry, said that it was not in the world's best interests to ignore an imminent Palestinian Authority implosion.
"I don't believe the world will stop funding the Authority because if it does, it will weaken Mahmoud Abbas and lead the PA to collapse," Tahboub said.