Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has promised to implement a controversial plan to deduct certain amounts from the tax the Tel Aviv regime collects on behalf of the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority (PA).
Netanyahu said during a press briefing in the occupied Jerusalem al-Quds on Sunday that his so-called security cabinet would approve next week a deduction in tax revenues relative to the amounts the PA pays to the Palestinians languishing in Israeli jails or the families of those killed by the regime’s military.
Reacting to the remarks, Palestinian Civil Affairs Minister Hussein al-Sheikh said that the PA would take none of the money if Israel withheld even “a penny.”
The Palestinian Ma’an news agency, citing Israel Hayom newspaper, had earlier reported that the Israeli ministry of military affairs was in the “advanced stages” of determining how much funding would be withheld.
The Tel Aviv regime collects around 127 million dollars a month in duties levied on goods destined for Palestinian markets that transit through Israeli “customs” and then transfers it to the PA.
In early July last year, Israel’s parliament passed a bill to withhold hundreds of millions of dollars in funds from the Palestinians over welfare payments given to prisoners and their families.
At the time, Secretary General of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Saeb Erekat condemned the decision, which he described as “piracy.”
The stipends benefit roughly 35,000 families of the Palestinians killed and wounded by Israel. The PA says the payments are a form of welfare stipend to the families who have lost their main breadwinner. The Israeli regime calls that “terrorist salaries.”
In a speech in June 2017, Abbas argued that “payments to support the families are a social responsibility to look after innocent people affected by the incarceration or killing of their loved ones.”
“It’s quite frankly racist rhetoric to call all our political prisoners terrorists,” Abbas said. “They are, in actuality, the victims of the occupation, not the creators of the occupation.”