Occupied: Headlines From Palestine

Blogging From Gaza, Palestine

Israeli Occupation Agrees To Disburse Withheld Palestinian Tax Revenue

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Donia Al-Watan
Israel has agreed to disburse Palestinian tax revenues in their entirety, Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah said Friday.

Sources told Donia Al-Watan that a committee was formed to follow the releasing of tax revenues.

Palestinian major-general Majed Faraj convened with Israeli officials and both sides agreed to release Palestinian tax revenues, Faraj briefs the Prime Minister Rami Hamadullah who briefs the President Abbas on this step, Abbas welcomes the move as public employees will receive full salary this month.

Public employees receive 60% from their salaries from the last December due to Israeli withholding for Palestinian tax revenues.

“Civil servants will receive their April salaries in full,” Hamdallah said in a statement.

Since last December, Israel has withheld millions of dollars in Palestinian tax revenue to protest the Palestinian government’s decision to join several international treaties and organisations, including the International Criminal Court.

The Palestinians formally joined the International Criminal Court on 7 January in a move that would allow them to lodge war crime complaints against Israel as of April.

The decision drew fresh opposition from the United States, which argued that the state of Palestine should not be allowed to join the ICC as it is not a “sovereign state”.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon accepted the request from the state of Palestine to join the ICC and said the court would be able as of 1 April to investigate serious crimes committed in the Palestinian territories.

Since the Palestinians’ action, Israel has withheld tax revenues owed to the Palestinians.

Palestinian tax revenues on goods coming in or out of the Palestinian territories are collected by Israel – to the tune of some $175mn each month – on behalf of the Palestinian government.

The tax revenues make up around two-thirds of the Palestinian Authority’s annual budget, excluding foreign aid, and are generally used to cover the salaries of Palestinian civil servants.

Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat has scathingly accused the Israeli government of behaving like “pirates” calling the Israeli decision to withhold Palestinian tax revenues a form of “collective punishment” against the Palestinian people and a “war crime.”

The announcement or repayment is a welcomed development and Hamdallah declared Friday that the Israeli government had agreed to transfer the funds – covering four months, from December 2014 to March 2015 – to his government. He did not say, however, how his government had reached agreement with Israel or when exactly the funds would be disbursed.

Tareq Hajjaj contributed to this report.

Author: OccPalGaza

Blogging from Gaza-current events, news and actions against the Occupation.

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