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PA Monetary Authority’ Governor resigns ‎just in time for the Bank of Palestine to ‎freeze terrorist’s accounts in compliance ‎with Israeli law, leaving some suspicious ‎of the former governor

Al-Akhbar, Lebanese daily  |

Headline: “The banks have submitted to ‎the occupation: The suspension of the ‎prisoners’ accounts has begun”‎

‎“With the beginning of the new year, and ‎in a surprising step, ‘Palestinian [PA] ‎Monetary Authority’ Governor Azzam Al-‎Shawa, a resident of the Gaza Strip, ‎announced his resignation ‘for personal ‎reasons,’ according to an announcement ‎by the ‘Monetary Authority.’ PA Chairman ‎Mahmoud Abbas accepted it quickly and ‎declared the appointment of Fares ‎Melhem, a resident of the occupied West ‎Bank, to fill the governor’s position. Two ‎days after the resignation and the new ‎appointment, the first and largest ‎Palestinian bank, ‘the Bank of Palestine,’ ‎began to close the accounts of the ‎prisoners in the Israeli enemy’s prison and ‎their relatives.

There is a connection ‎between this step and Al-Shawa’s ‎dismissal, as the pressure that was exerted ‎on him to resign was attributed by sources ‎in the PA to his position opposing the ‎closure of the prisoners’ accounts. The ‎head of the ‘Monetary Authority’ has the ‎authority to order the banks to stop ‎cooperating with the enemy’s decision ‎‎(refers to the application of much of ‎Israel's Anti-Terror Law to the West Bank, ‎including rendering banks liable to ‎punishment for facilitating PA terror ‎salaries -Ed.) and recant from closing the ‎accounts of the prisoners and the ‎Martyrs’ [families], as these banks are ‎operating according to ‘the Palestinian ‎Banking Law’.‎

The step by ‘the Bank of Palestine’ was ‎not the first taken by the banks; other ‎banks closed accounts already last May ‎‎[2020] but did so quietly in [small] numbers ‎with time intervals between them. ‎

But what ‘the Bank of Palestine’ did at ‎the beginning of the year was different. ‎The sources revealed that behind the ‎pressures that were exerted on Al-‎Shawa stand high-ranking senior ‎officials in the PA who worked to renew ‎the relations with the enemy last month ‎‎[December 2020]…‎

The PA announced six months ago that it ‎will establish a banking institution that will ‎be subordinate to ‘the PLO,’ with which it ‎will be able to pay their salaries in order to ‎get the banks out of trouble… but ‎Palestinian sources revealed that the ‎measures to establish the bank hit ‎difficulties due to… the possibility that the ‎occupation will pressure it and the banks ‎that will have connections with it, in ‎addition to the possibility that the new ‎bank will be persecuted, have its branches ‎closed, and have its money confiscated.”‎

Israeli army legislation which applies parts of Israel's 2016 Anti-Terror Law to the West Bank (taking effect on May 9, 2020). The law prohibits numerous terror related offenses, including terror funding/rewarding and holds heads of terror organizations responsible for murder committed by members of the organization. The law criminalizes the provision of funds for or the payment of rewards for the commission of terrorist offenses, such as the salaries the PA pays to terrorist prisoners and released prisoners. The provision also applies to any person or body - such as a bank - that facilitates such funding or rewarding of terror offenses. Based on this last provision, PMW sent letters in April 2020 to the heads of banks in the PA areas warning them that they must freeze the accounts of terrorists and their proxies and transfer them to the Israeli army or face legal consequences.