The Palestinian Authority has decried Israel’s decision to deduct a certain amount from the tax revenues it collects on its behalf as “piracy” and “robbery” of the Palestinian people’s money.
President Mahmoud Abbas “categorically rejects this dangerous decision,” his spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh said on Sunday.
The statement came as Israel’s so-called security cabinet voted to withhold 600 million shekels (176 million US dollars) from the Palestinian Authority’s tax revenues earlier on Sunday over welfare payments given by the PA to Palestinians that allegedly conducted operations against Israeli forces in the past year and their families.
According to Abu Rudeineh, Abbas also “affirms that the rights of Palestinian prisoners will be safeguarded despite pressures.”
He stressed that the decision is contrary to international law, urging the international community to put pressure on Israel to stop such “provocative” measures.
Hussein al-Sheikh, the secretary-general of the executive committee of the Palestinian Liberation Organization, also slammed the Israeli decision.
“The occupation government continues with its money piracy over the Palestinians’ funds and decides to deduct hundreds of millions of shekels to further embed the policy of financial blockade and steal our money in a step that adds to the daily escalation in our cities, villages, and camps and the legalization of our bloodshed,” he said.
The Israeli move comes in line with a bill passed in 2018 to withhold hundreds of millions of dollars in funds from the Palestinians over welfare payments given to Palestinian prisoners and their families as well as the families of those killed by the Israeli military.