Abbas Rejects Israel's Partial Transfer of Palestinian Tax Revenues

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said on Sunday Israel had released frozen tax revenues to the Authority but that he had ordered the funds to be returned because money had been deducted to cover debts to Israeli utility companies.

Israel started withholding around $130 million a month in tax and customs revenues in December. The move came after the Palestinians announced that they were joining the International Criminal Court (ICC), a move finalized on April 1.

Under international pressure, Israel agreed last week to resume the transfers, saying it would immediately pay around $400 million – the withheld revenues minus the amount owed by the Palestinians for utilities supplied by Israel.

Abbas said those deductions amounted to a third of the total sum that Israel owed the Palestinians.

“We are returning the money. Either they give it to us in full or we go to arbitration or to the court (ICC). We will not accept anything else,” he said in a speech.

A spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had no immediate comment.

In February, Israel’s state-owned electric company briefly cut power to several Palestinian cities in the occupied West Bank to press for payment of what it said was $492 million owed by the Palestinian government.

Palestinians in the West Bank, territory Israel captured in the 1967 Middle East War, are largely dependent on electricity supplied by Israel Electric Corp.

Author

Your Comments

The Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. All readers can browse the comments, and all Forward subscribers can add to the conversation. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Forward requires 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 and will be deleted. Egregious commenters or repeat offenders will be banned from commenting. 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 Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.

Recommend this article

Abbas Rejects Israel's Partial Transfer of Palestinian Tax Revenues

Thank you!

This article has been sent!

Close