Sunday, Dec. 17
Latest News
  1. 29-year-old Palestinian shot dead by Israeli forces laid to rest
  2. Abbas spokesman: We will not accept changes to 1967Jerusalem borders
  3. 4 Palestinians shot dead by Israeli forces in West Bank, Gaza
  4. Hundreds injured as Palestinians protest in West Bank, Gaza, Jerusalem
  5. Israeli navy opens fire at Palestinian fishermen off Gaza coast
  6. Israeli forces shoot incapacitated Palestinian after alleged stabbing
  7. VIDEO: Israeli forces detain Palestinian teeange girls from ambulance
  8. Israel conducts several airstrikes accross Gaza Strip
  9. Over 200 Israelis tour Al-Aqsa Mosque compound for Hanukkah
  10. Journalist, human rights activist injured in anti-Trump protests

Hamas rejects alleged Abbas decree seeking to exempt Gazans from taxes

May 6, 2017 10:16 P.M. (Updated: June 21, 2017 2:03 P.M.)
(File)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Hamas, the de facto ruling party of the besieged Gaza Strip, has rejected a decree purportedly made by Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas, which exempts the Gazan population from paying taxes to the PA.

According to Yousif al-Kayyali, the finance minister of the Hamas-run government, which Hamas refers to as an administrative committee, Abbas decided that residents of the small Palestinian territory were exempt from paying all taxes and governmental service fees to official departments and establishments of the Ramallah-based, Fatah-led PA.

A number of officials close to the PA declined to comment on the issue, but a hard copy of the decree was obtained by Ma'an in Gaza, which said that Palestinians in Gaza were entirely exempted from the obligation of paying additional taxes, including income tax, taxes on imported goods, and property tax.

The document said that "every act that goes against or violates this order will be canceled," and said the decree was put into action "the day it was declared." However, two dates appeared on the document: a stamp for April 2, 2017, and a written signature for May 2, 2017.

Al-Kayyali said in a statement Saturday evening that Hamas rejected the executive order due to it not being approved by the Palestinian parliament, the Palestinian Legislative Council, and said that Hamas leadership would refuse to implement the decision.

"We view this issue from a purely legal perspective, and independent of any political disputes. This decision can only pass through the Legislative Council," said al-Kayyali.

Al-Kayyali noted that a similar decision was made in 2007, and accused the Palestinian president of again “attempting to deprive the Gaza Strip of its local tax revenues for political reasons.”

The 2007 decree, also issued by Abbas, sought to amend the tax law to exempt Gazans from paying income taxes, and was not implemented by the Hamas government.

Critics have accused Hamas of lack of transparency in tax collection and using the funds to pay Hamas employees rather than spending the revenue on services for Gaza citizens, who suffer from deepening poverty, unemployment, and insecurity.

Abbas, who is also the chief of the Fatah movement, warned on Thursday that he would not accept working with the Hamas movement so long as it “continues to legitimize division,” and that he has decided to “rethink everything I do with Hamas in the Gaza Strip.”

Palestinian leadership has repeatedly failed to follow through on promises of reconciliations, as both Fatah and Hamas have frequently blamed each other for numerous political failures, and tensions have only continued to escalate between the two factions in recent weeks.

Earlier this week, Hamas security forces in Gaza arrested several Fatah leaders from the northern Gaza Strip, while several others were summoned for interrogation and subsequently detained, allegedly in order to prevent the Fatah officials from taking place in a march planned in support of Abbas and hunger-striking Palestinian prisoners.

The Fatah march was organized just one day after Hamas suspended schools and government offices in Gaza to encourage people to take part in rallies they organized to voice opposition to Abbas, who has been president since 2005 and faces growing unpopularity.

Meanwhile, an ongoing electricity crisis in Gaza, PA-imposed cuts to the salaries of civil servants in Gaza, and the fact that the PA has decided to move forward with local elections in the West Bank, despite being boycotted by Hamas and other factions, have further exacerbated an already dismal political situation that began with Hamas’ 2006 election victory and subsequent takeover of Gaza.

United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov has expressed his “deep concerns” over the “growing tensions” in Gaza, and said Thursday in Brussels that he urged “all parties to refrain from taking actions that would further exacerbate the situation and to seek a political solution to the standoff.”

“The Palestinian Authority, Israel, and indeed Hamas -- who have controlled Gaza for a decade now -- have obligations as duty-bearers for the welfare of Gaza's residents and must live up to their responsibilities,” he said.
Powered By: HTD Technologies
Ma'an News Agency
All rights reserved © 2005-2017