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PA official: Israel continues to withhold tax revenue

Feb. 12, 2013 6:47 A.M. (Updated: March 2, 2013 10:14 A.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma'an) – Israel is still withholding Palestinian tax revenue breaching the 2004 Paris agreement, an official in the Palestinian Ministry of Finance said Tuesday.

Spokesman Rami Mahdawi told Ma'an that the ongoing breach "confirms that Israel is going on with its piracy on Palestinian money."

He referred to recent remarks by Israel's Minister of Finance Yuval Steinitz related to tax revenue Israel collects on behalf of the Palestinian government. "These remarks clearly prove that the Palestinian government is facing a severe financial crisis rendering the government unable to pay civil servants’ salaries and to pay back debts."

Mahdawi urged Palestinian trade unions to back the government and stop the ongoing rounds of strikes highlighting that strikes only harm public interests and add more burdens.

Steinitz told Channel 1 TV Monday that the motives behind Israel’s decision to withhold tax money still remained. The main reasons for withholding tax money, he explained, were the PA attempts to establish partnership with Hamas, and the declarations by Palestinian leaders about their intentions to sue Israeli officials in the International Criminal Court.

If the Palestinian president abandons these paths, all options will be open for us to resume cooperation with the PA which we seek to maintain rather than destroy, added Steinitz.

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