Israel's Decision To Withhold Tax Money From Palestinians May Impact Security

West Bank's 165,000 Civil Servants Go Unpaid

Unpaid: The decision to withhold revenue from the P.A. is impacting the Palestinian economy as well as Israel’s security.
Getty Images
Unpaid: The decision to withhold revenue from the P.A. is impacting the Palestinian economy as well as Israel’s security.

By Ben Lynfield

Published January 26, 2013, issue of February 01, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

In August 2011, a report by the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee hailed the Palestinian Authority’s “comprehensive security coordination” with Israel in thwarting terrorist attacks — a judgment echoed in May 2012 by the chief of the Shin Bet, Israel’s domestic intelligence agency. “The security coordination with the P.A. is good,” Yoram Cohen told the same committee then.

But Cohen warned the lawmakers that Palestinian security cooperation in the Israeli-occupied West Bank was “highly affected by the atmosphere on the street, public opinion and state of the economy.”

Now, even as post-election negotiations over the next government consume the country, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s decision to withhold tax revenues that Israel collects for the P.A. is directly undermining the livelihoods of the security men coordinating with Israel’s own security forces.

The P.A.’s estimated 165,000 employees, including its security forces, are not receiving their monthly paychecks, because of the impact on government coffers of Israel’s tax withholdings and of reductions in recent years of international aid. And the same dual hits have sent the Palestinian economy into just the kind of downward spiral of which Cohen warned.

In the heavily government-dependent P.A. economy, these employees and the money they spend form the economic backbone of the occupied territory.

In an appliance store at the southern entrance to Ramallah, shop manager Hazem Shuleh, 24, shows a visitor bounced checks that P.A. employees have been giving him, including one from an intelligence officer who was unable to cover his installment payments for a refrigerator because he has not received his full salary since November.

“I called the officer and told him I need the money, that I need to pay the supplier,” Shuleh told the Forward. “He said: ‘I don’t have it. Be patient.’ I end up eating air.’’

Another returned check belonged to a P.A. policeman, Shuleh said.

Israeli officials are declining to specify when seized tax revenues vital for the Palestinian economy will once again be transferred to the P.A.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Can you relate?
  • The Forverts' "Bintel Brief" advice column ran for more than 65 years. Now it's getting a second life — as a cartoon.
  • Half of this Hillel's members believe Jesus was the Messiah.
  • Vinyl isn't just for hipsters and hippies. Israeli photographer Eilan Paz documents the most astonishing record collections from around the world:http://jd.fo/g3IyM
  • Could Spider-Man be Jewish? Andrew Garfield thinks so.
  • Most tasteless video ever? A new video shows Jesus Christ dying at Auschwitz.
  • "It’s the smell that hits me first — musty, almost sweet, emanating from the green felt that cradles each piece of silver cutlery in its own place." Only one week left to submit! Tell us the story of your family's Jewish heirloom.
  • Mazel tov to Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky!
  • If it's true, it's pretty terrifying news.
  • “My mom went to cook at the White House and all I got was this tiny piece of leftover raspberry ganache."
  • Planning on catching "Fading Gigolo" this weekend? Read our review.
  • A new initiative will spend $300 million a year towards strengthening Israel's relationship with the Diaspora. http://jd.fo/q3Iaj Is this money spent wisely?
  • Lusia Horowitz left pre-state Israel to fight fascism in Spain — and wound up being captured by the Nazis and sent to die at Auschwitz. Share her remarkable story — told in her letters.
  • Vered Guttman doesn't usually get nervous about cooking for 20 people, even for Passover. But last night was a bit different. She was cooking for the Obamas at the White House Seder.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.