Ehud Olmert reportedly plans to release $400 million in tax funds to the Palestinians. The Israeli prime minister will outline his plans to release the money to his Cabinet on Sunday, Yediot Achronot reported. Olmert said last week that he planned to release to the Palestinian Authority some of the $550 million in tax and customs duties Israel collects on its behalf now that Mahmoud Abbas, the relatively moderate P.A. president, has replaced the former Cabinet led by the Hamas terrorist group. Israel suspended the transfer of such payments in March 2006, when Hamas assumed governance. Yediot reported that Olmert will propose releasing the money in installments and will monitor the transfer to ensure that it does not reach terrorist groups. In Washington last week, Olmert told reporters that some of the money would go to Israeli utilities that have been providing the Palestinians with basic needs. Olmert wants to announce the transfer ahead of his summit Monday with Abbas and the Jordanian and Egyptian leaders.
Olmert to release $400 million to P.A.