Abbas doubles down on refusal to accept tax revenues after Israeli cuts

PA President Mahmoud Abbas restated the Palestinians’ refusal to accept tax revenues collected on their behalf by Israel so long as the Jewish state deducts millions of dollars over a dispute about prisoners.

“Our position is as it was: We will not receive any money from Israel if it is incomplete,” Abbas tells the weekly cabinet meeting in the West Bank city of Ramallah. “This is something we will not accept at any cost.”

Israel collects around $190 million a month in customs duties levied on goods destined for Palestinian markets that transit through Israeli ports, and then it transfers the money to the PA.

In February, Israel decided to deduct around $10 million a month from those revenues, corresponding to the amount it said the PA paid families of prisoners or directly to inmates serving time in Israeli jails. The Palestinians responded by saying they would refuse any funds where unilateral deductions had been made.

The Kan public broadcaster reports that a month’s payment — minus the $10 million deduction — had recently been transferred to PA bank accounts, in the hope the authority would quietly accept payment. But after two weeks, the money was returned to the Israeli finance ministry, according to the report.

Yesterday, Channel 12 news reported that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon discussed emergency plans, should the PA economy collapse over its refusal to accept the tax dividends.

— with AFP

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