The transfer is the first since June, when Palestinians snubbed the handover due to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s plans to annex parts of the occupied West Bank.

Members of a Palestinian family, some clad in masks due to the coronavirus pandemic, stand through the door of their home as they receive food aid provided by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) in Gaza on September 15, 2020.
Members of a Palestinian family, some clad in masks due to the coronavirus pandemic, stand through the door of their home as they receive food aid provided by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) in Gaza on September 15, 2020. (AFP)

Israel has handed over a backlog of billions of shekels in tax money to the Palestinian Authority, both sides said, in another sign of warming ties between the two sides after the US presidential election victory of Joe Biden.

The taxes, managed by Israel under interim peace accords from the 1990s and usually handed over monthly, make up more than half of the budget of the Palestinian Authority (PA), whose economy has been hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic.

The 3.77 billion shekels ($1.14 billion) transfer is the first since June, when the Palestinians snubbed the handover due to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's plans, currently suspended, to annex parts of the occupied West Bank.

The Palestinians also rejected the cash several times in 2019 after Israel trimmed the sum in retaliation for funds going to the families of jailed or killed militants. It usually amounts to about $190 million a month.

"The #Israeli government transfers all financial dues of the clearance to the account of the #Palestinian Authority," Palestinian Affairs minister of civil affairs Hussein al Sheikh tweeted, giving the figure as 3.768 billion shekels.

The Israeli Finance Ministry confirmed the details.

READ MORE: Palestinians hit with severe decline in funding from Arab states

Warming relations

Israel froze its annexation plans in August as part of an agreement to forge diplomatic ties with the United Arab Emirates. 

The Palestinians in November said they were resuming civil and security cooperation with Israel suspended over the annexation. The announcement came about two weeks after Biden beat incumbent Donald Trump in the US presidential race.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has since indicated he will drop his three-year political boycott of the White House.

"Right now we are sending clear messages not only to the Israelis, not only to the Biden administration but also to the Europeans and many others that Palestine, and the Palestinians are ready to re-engage completely with Israel," Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al Maliki said in a November 26 video conference.

READ MORE: Israel forces a million Palestinians into poverty as UAE normalises ties

Source: Reuters