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Palestinian president urges Arab countries to bail out his cash-strapped administration

The Palestinian president is urging Arab nations to provide major financial assistance to cover a new monthly $100 million budgetary shortfall after U.N. recognition of Palestinian claims to statehood — result of a punitive Israeli measure.

Mahmoud Abbas told Arab League officials Sunday in Qatar that his Palestinian Authority in the West Bank is "collapsing" under financial strain. Abbas faces added pressures after rival Hamas in Gaza received major pledges of aid from Qatar's emir in October.

Israel halted the tax transfer funds — customs duties collected on behalf of Palestinians — after last month's U.N. vote to recognize a Palestinian state in territories captured by Israel in the 1967 Mideast war.

Last week, Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad called on Arab countries to send $240 million a month.

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