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Israel withholds Palestinian tax revenues

By Xinhua in Ramallah, Middle East | China Daily | Updated: 2015-01-06 07:47

Palestine's conflict with Israel, mainly after the move to join the International Criminal Court, may heat up and lead to negative consequences, including the dissolving of the Palestinian National Authority, analysts say.

Israel on Saturday unofficially announced that in response to the Palestinian move of joining 20 international agencies and treaties, it will freeze the transfer of $128 million in tax revenue dues. Israel Radio also reported that Israel may impose other punishment on the PNA.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas signed 20 international treaties and agencies after the State of Palestine failed last week to get the approval of the UN Security Council of a draft resolution that calls for ending the Israeli occupation and establishing a Palestinian state within two years.

Senior Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said holding the tax money "is a punishing measure that aims at undermining the Palestinian National Authority", adding that "this means that the PNA won't be able to run hospitals, schools or pay the monthly salaries of its employees".

He warned that if Israel carries on with these measures, "the Palestinian leadership will have no choice but to call on Israel to bear its full responsibility toward the Palestinian territories and the Palestinian people as an occupation authority".

$1 billion every year

Israel controls all Palestinian crossings and collects tax revenues from Palestinian imports. Those tax revenue dues represent two-thirds of the Palestinian budget. Israel collects the taxes and pays them back to the PNA, more than $1 billion every year.

Samir Awad, a political analyst from the West Bank, said dissolving the PNA "is a choice that Israel doesn't want since it means a high cost of expenses and a political responsibility to the Palestinians".

"Israel won't endanger the situation and keep holding the money forever," he said.

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