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PLO official skeptical about Israeli tax seizure

Dec. 3, 2012 6:39 P.M. (Updated: Dec. 5, 2012 8:44 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- Israel is unlikely to follow through on its announcement that it will withhold Palestinian Authority tax revenues, PLO official Muhammad Ishtayya said Monday.

Israel's cabinet said Sunday it will use the 460 million shekels ($120 million) of November tax payments to pay PA debts to the Israeli Electric Company.

Ishtayya told Ma'an: "Israeli leaders are just making hasty and prompt remarks to save face. In fact these threats mirror the grand statements Israeli leaders made before the Palestinian Authority submitted its statehood bid to the UN General Assembly."

"We know these remarks are aimless threats which Israel will not dare to put into effect because they will then have to face huge pressure from the international community, as nobody in the world wants to see the PA collapse."

Ishtayya said the fact that Israel had delivered the PA tax revenues only two days before the Palestinian president headed to the UN shows they are not serious.

But Palestinian Authority spokeswoman Nour Odeh highlighted that the payment had been a delayed installment from October's taxes, and until now the government has no indication that Israel will reverse the decision.

Israeli premier Benjamin Netanyahu's insistence that he will proceed with accelerated settlement building, the other punitive action after the UN bid, despite world outcry, indicates that his government is "unphased by international reactions," she said.

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