Saudi Arabia discontinues financial aid to Palestinian Authority

In the last six months Saudi Arabia has discontinued financial aid for the Palestinian Authority,  senior Ramallah officials said.

According to a report, no reason was given for the withholding of the monthly payment of $20 million; however, a discord between Saudis and the Palestinian Authority may be linked to the widely reported rapprochement between the Gulf kingdom and Israel.

Another reason for the halt may be the strained finances of Saudi Arabia, the world’s top oil exporter was hit by a slump in crude prices; earlier this year Riyadh announced a record budget deficit of $98 billion in 2015 and projected a shortfall of $87 billion next year.

While Israel and Saudi Arabia have no diplomatic ties, they are seen as sharing regional security interests particularly over Iran.

Israel has long viewed the Islamic Republic as one of its main threats in the region, while Sunni Saudi Arabia considers the Shi’ite nation as a contender for dominance in the Middle East.

Last year, then-Foreign Ministry Director Dore Gold met in Washington with high-level Saudi representatives to discuss the Iran nuclear deal, to which both countries were fiercely opposed.