Israel withholding Palestinian money 'economic warfare', says PA

Israel withholding Palestinian money 'economic warfare', says PA
Palestine has slammed Israel's decision to 'steal' its tax money.
2 min read
31 December, 2019
Palestinians live under daily occupation [Getty]
Palestine's foreign ministry has denounced Israel's withholding $43 million of funds as "economic warfare".

"Stealing more funds from the Palestinian people falls under the systematic economic war waged by the Israeli occupation against the Palestinian people," the foreign ministry said in a statement.

Monday's statement accused Israel of conducting "a desperate attempt to disrupt the domestic stability and the social fabric" and that it "attempts to weaken the Palestinian Authority and its institutions are central to these Israeli schemes".

On Sunday, the Israeli Security Cabinet opted to withhold $43 million of tax funds from Palestine, claiming the money has been used to promote violence.

Read also: Israel imposed travel ban on nearly 8,000 Palestinians in five years: report

The sum represents funds that Israel claims Ramallah has used to pay the families of Palestinians who have been jailed or killed as a result of attacking Israel.

Israel claims the so-called "Martyrs' Fund" rewards violence, while the Palestinians say the payments are needed to help vulnerable families.

Under past agreements, Israel has collected customs and other taxes on behalf of the Palestinians, which is then transferred to the Palestinian Authority. These monthly transfers, about $170 million, are a key source of funding for the budget of the authority, which administers parts of the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office declined comment.

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