Israel has decided to withhold taxes collected for the Palestinian Authority that were to be transferred later in the month.
By Chana Ya’ar
Israel has decided to withhold taxes collected for the Palestinian Authority that were to be transferred later in the month. Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz made the announcement Sunday morning at the weekly government Cabinet meeting in Jerusalem.
The move is being made in response to the United Nations vote to approve a new status for the PA as a nonmember observer state — in effect, recognizing the PA as a de facto sovereign state. It allows the PA access to numerous U.N. agencies, and to the International Criminal Court at The Hague.
“This was a Palestinian provocation and an attempt to advance their state without recognizing Israel,” Steinitz said. “We said it would not pass quietly,” he reminded.
Steinitz said the funds would be used instead “to offset the PA’s electricity debts.” Gaza derives at least 40 percent of its power from the Israeli electricity grid; the PA-controlled areas of Judea and Samaria derive 100 percent of their electricity from Israel.