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Israel seizes PA revenues in response to UN vote
Published Sunday 02/12/2012 (updated) 04/12/2012 09:46
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Israeli cabinet meeting (Reuters/Ronen Zvulun, File)
TEL AVIV, Israel (Ma'an) -- Israel's government decided to seize Palestinian Authority tax revenues in response to the UN vote to recognize Palestine as a non-member state, Israeli media reported Sunday.

Israel will use the 460 million shekels ($120 million) of November tax payments to pay PA debts to the Israeli Electric Company, the Haaretz newspaper reported.

Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz told the Sunday cabinet meeting that UN vote is a "Palestinian provocation and an attempt to advance their state without recognizing Israel," new site Ynet reported.

Yasser Abed Rabbo, a senior Palestinian official, said Israel was guilty of "piracy and theft" by refusing to hand over the funds.

The Israeli government also unveiled plans on Friday to build 3,000 new settlement units and expedite building in the so-called E-1 area of the occupied West Bank, a day after the UN vote.

Steinitz said Sunday: "It is high time that Jerusalem will be connected to (Israeli settlement) Maale Adumim. We told the US that if the Palestinians would go to the UN there would be repercussions."

The United States, one of just eight countries to vote alongside Israel against the Palestinians at the UN General Assembly, had called the latest expansion plan "counterproductive."

Israel had threatened a number of sanctions in response to the bid, including withdrawing Palestinian tax revenues, supporting more settlement building, and canceling past agreements.

Israeli media reported that US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton had urged Israel not to punish Abbas' administration for the bid, and West Bank officials were optimistic that she had been successful.

Israel has withheld the tax revenues, which it collects on the PA's behalf as a result of international agreements, several times in recent years to punish the PA leadership.

The government also held back a smaller sum, around $9 million, in September to pay the Israeli Electric Corp., which supplies West Bank cities with power.

Israeli officials say the Palestinian Authority's Jerusalem District Electricity Co. has accumulated a $200 million debt from the company in unpaid bills.

The aid-dependent Palestinian economy in the West Bank faces financial crisis due to a drop in aid from Western backers and wealthy Gulf states, as well as Israeli restrictions on trade.

Reuters contributed to this report
1 ) Outsider / EU
02/12/2012 12:43
Israel has recognised Palestine, or did I miss something? ;- ) The usual reaction of the Israeli reaction: throw the toys out of the pram when it doesn't get its way.

2 ) mohamed / somalia
02/12/2012 12:47
this is black mail.

3 ) Carol Scheller / Switzerland
02/12/2012 12:54
"tax revenues which it collects on the PA's behalf as a result of international agreements" are now to be withheld from them. Which international agreements ?Is this act legally defendable ?

4 ) toofaan / south africa
02/12/2012 13:57
Simple solution! Egypt must 'seize' the gas pipelines to Israel & open all crossings into / out of Gaza!

5 ) Taxes collection can be / rather taxing these days
02/12/2012 14:06
"Israel will use the 460 million shekels ($120 million) of November tax payments to pay PA debts to the Israeli Electric Company, the Haaretz newspaper reported."

Welcome to the real world, were you have to pay your way! What's Israel doing acting as tax collector for the PA anyway? That was part of the Oslo accords that were finally buried on the 29th November.

6 ) French citizen / France
02/12/2012 14:24
Apalling, shocking, horrible. This Israeli government is cynical, revengeful!

7 ) Julie / USA
02/12/2012 14:31
izraeli thieves stealing money. basically, there is NOTHING lawful about izrael when it comes to Palestine. it has always been the criminal terrorist and all it's doing now is proving it AGAIN.

8 ) NW / Israel
02/12/2012 14:44
Can anybody explain to me which intl. agreements entitled Israel to collect the taxes, who decided this agreement (USA, US, Europe?) and why this was necessary? Why cant the PA collect its taxes alone if Israel breaks these agreements?

9 ) Carlos / usa
02/12/2012 15:48
Can someone tell me where we can donate to the PA?
They have guts and I want to undo some of the damage my taxes have done to the Palestinians.

10 ) Lynx / Palestine
02/12/2012 16:52
Steinitz...GO BACK TO GERMANY!!!!

11 ) Ruth Shkoor / USA
02/12/2012 18:00
This is coersian. PA can pay their own taxes. What sucks is that the PA cannot as of yet file criminal charges with the ICC. Let the President of Egypt seize the gas pipelines to Israel and also open the crossings in and out of Gaza. Israel doent want peace. They want war for a land that does not pertain to them. Their must be International laws that can protect Palestine and stop Israel from their all if their theft from PALESTINE. Long live PALESTINE!

12 ) Reader / from Edmonton
02/12/2012 19:21
All of Palestine's land and resources have been under attack since 1948. All conflicts since Israel 'accepted' the UN-defined 1947 borders have been fought over land and resources outside those borders. Israeli avarice has no limits: they don't attack Palestinians because they are Palestinian. they would attack anyone standing in their way. And avarice, being what it is, has no limits. The Zionist dream is 'from the Euphrates to the Nile'. And they are working on their plan even now.

13 ) Reader / from Edmonton
02/12/2012 19:35
Israel will do anything, everything, it can to provoke those who would stand in their way. Israel wants to re-ignite the troubles in Gaza and the rest of Palestine to claim more land and resources. See this article: http://www.middle-east-online.com/english/?id=55830. Perhaps the state of Palestine "cannot as of yet file criminal charges with the ICC", but they can now use evidence gathered for those trials.

14 ) Outlier / USA
02/12/2012 20:02
Pandering to their respective audiences - both the Palestinians and the Israelis have now done so. Neither move is likely to move peace forward.

15 ) Mel / USA
02/12/2012 21:44
HOW'S THAT 4 DEMOCRACY?This is how Israel & USG punish DEMOCRACY,FREEDOM OF SPEECH & ACTIONS! Israel'd better REMEMBER that it ALSO survives on our US-tax subsidies,free WEAPONS,tax-free "research"grants(military)&so-called 'defense-systems'(to OFFEND its Arab neighbors).Obama!HONOR YOUR NAME! This is where you SHOULD be sanctioning Israel for using MORE COLLECTIVE punishment on Palestinians,& STOP ALL US-tax CHECKS to autocratic Israel. Parasite Israel lives on collective punishment of OTHERS!

16 ) Reader / from Edmonton
02/12/2012 22:46
Martyrdom has its place. And human courts have their place. Now that evidence of war crimes against the state of Palestine can be used in trial, each violation is another nail in the Israeli coffin. There will be a reckoning.

17 ) Reader / from Edmonton
03/12/2012 00:20
Indigenous Palestinians have more genetic links to King David than these American and European imports. Who has the best claim to the balance of Palestine between Israel's unilateral 1948 declaration and Palestine's unilateral 2012 declaration? This is the substance of negotiations.

18 ) Malone / Hfx
03/12/2012 00:55
#9...just send your donations directly to Abbass swiss bank acct...That's where it will end up anyway.

19 ) Yehuda Solomon / Israel
03/12/2012 04:47
@ 3), Our tax and payment-transfer agreements with the Palestinians are in or have developed from the Oslo Accords and other agreements, such as the Paris Protocols, from damn near 20 years ago. There have been modifications over time since then. Are they legally defendable ??? ... Yes. The problem arises because there are separate, other parts of those agreements we've violated and so the Palestinians (as a justifiable reaction, I might add) also commit violations. So then everybody (cont.)

20 ) Yehuda Solomon / Israel
03/12/2012 05:07
gets mad at each other and crap like us withholding PA tax revenues develops and the Palestinians scream like hell at us until we back down... and so this farce goes on and on ... (By the way, at 8), Are you REALLY from Israel ??? ... because if so you're EMBARRASSING yourself by asking such questions (you should already KNOW about all this. Go and FIND OUT.) @ 12), 13), I'll read that Middle East Online article later; meantime, Zionist dream is NOT Euphrates to Nile. Stop barfing.
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