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President slams decision to withhold tax revenue

China Daily | Updated: 2015-01-07 07:38

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin slammed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's decision to withhold tax money from the Palestinian Authority in response to the latter's bid to join the International Criminal Court on Monday, newspaper Ha'aretz daily reported.

Rivlin told a group of more than 30 Israeli envoys to Europe in a meeting that while he objects to the Palestinian bid, the withholding of half a billion shekels ($128 million) worth of Palestinian tax revenue was damaging to Israel, according to the daily, quoting two Israeli diplomats who attended the meeting.

The president also criticized the Palestinian move, which he said was in violation of the 1993 Oslo Accords and was a means for Palestine to "thwart direct negotiations" and call the shots unilaterally, adding that Israel would respond.

However, he said, Netanyahu's decision to withhold the tax revenue that Israel collects on behalf of the Palestinian Authority, will damage Israel's interests.

"Freezing the transfer of Palestinians tax funds neither benefits us nor them," Rivlin said, adding that "Palestinians use these funds to sustain themselves and keep the PA functioning. Israel's interest is a functioning PA".

Xinhua - Reuters


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