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PFLP: Hamas imposing unfair, strict tax laws

April 27, 2010 5:00 P.M. (Updated: April 29, 2010 9:57 A.M.)
Gaza – Ma’an – The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) called on the de facto government in Gaza to stop their latest practice of levying high taxes on some residents, and using strict measures to impose their collection.

In a statement released on Tuesday, PFLP officials condemned the practice, saying falafel vendors and taxi drivers were being forced to pay large sums to keep their businesses running.

Of particular offense to the party was the harsh means of collection, which the statement said came "despite the siege Israel is imposing on the Gaza Strip, and despite the destruction caused by the Israeli war machine last winter." The statement reminded that the "economic institutions and infrastructures in Gaza were destroyed and unemployment and poverty rates increased drastically" since the start of the siege on Gaza, and the numbers spiked following the Israeli war.

The statement also objected to a new 60% tax imposed on cigarettes.

The PFLP went on to accuse the Hamas government seizing the homes and apartments of those living abroad and giving them to Hamas security officers.

Residential building owners were also required to pay heavy taxes on their properties, often as much as 2,500–3,000 US dollars per building, the statement detailed.

"Strange taxes" on scales used in green grocers and meat shops were also taxed, the statement said, adding that civilians were interrogated in "baseless and humiliating ways" around their incomes and taxes owed to the government.
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