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!
  • "If you want my advice: more Palestinians, more checkpoints, just more reality." What do you think?
  • Happy birthday Barbra Streisand! Our favorite Funny Girl turns 72 today.
  • Clueless parenting advice from the star of "Clueless."
  • Why won't the city give an answer?
  • BREAKING NEWS: Israel has officially suspended peace talks with the Palestinians.
  • Can you guess what the most boring job in the army is?
  • What the foolish rabbi of Chelm teaches us about Israel and the Palestinian unity deal:
  • Mazel tov to Idina Menzel on making Variety "Power of Women" cover! http://jd.fo/f3Mms
  • "How much should I expect him and/or ask him to participate? Is it enough to have one parent reciting the prayers and observing the holidays?" What do you think?
  • New York and Montreal have been at odds for far too long. Stop the bagel wars, sign our bagel peace treaty!
  • Really, can you blame them?
  • “How I Stopped Hating Women of the Wall and Started Talking to My Mother.” Will you see it?
  • Taglit-Birthright Israel is redefining who they consider "Jewish" after a 17% drop in registration from 2011-2013. Is the "propaganda tag" keeping young people away?
  • Happy birthday William Shakespeare! Turns out, the Bard knew quite a bit about Jews.
  • Would you get to know racists on a first-name basis if you thought it might help you prevent them from going on rampages, like the recent shooting in Kansas City?
  • 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.