File photo: REUTERS/Zoubeir Souissi.

JOHANNESBURG – The United Nations Mideast envoy, Nickolay Mladenov, has warned that the viability of the Palestinian Authority (PA), which nominally controls the Israeli-occupied Palestinian West Bank, is under threat and facing unprecedented challenges.

In a report released Thursday by the office of the United Nations Special Coordination for the Middle East Process, the organisation warned that: "A major fiscal crisis, coupled with growing humanitarian needs and the lack of a political prospect for a negotiated solution, threatens the stability of the West Bank and the very survival of the Palestinian statebuilding effort."

The report and warning was issued ahead of the bi-annual meeting of the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee in Brussels on April 30 and comes in the wake of Israel withholding millions of dollars in taxes that it transfers to the PA due to what it says is the latter paying out money to “terrorists”.

The PA has responded to this by refusing to take any of the tax money unless Israel pays the full amount owed to the Palestinians, adding that Palestinian political prisoners and their families will continue to get paid a monthly allowance despite Israel’s actions.

According to the report, these decisions have caused the Palestinian government to lose some 65% of its revenue and forced it to take extreme austerity measures.

It is believed that the PA could face an unprecedented economical and political collapse in several months which could lead to subsequent unrest in the West Bank.

In the interim the PA is appealing to the Arab world to provide financial support to avoid this inevitability.

African News Agency (ANA)