Finance Minister Smotrich tells US Israel won’t release Palestinian tax funds under his watch

Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich tells US President Biden that Israel will continue to withhold Palestinian tax funds for as long as he remains in his position as finance minister.

“We have a lot of respect for the US, our best ally in the world, and for President Biden, who is a true friend of Israel,” Smotrich writes in a post on X, formerly Twitter.

“But we will never put our destiny in the hands of foreigners, and as long as I am Finance Minister, not a single shekel will go to the Nazi terrorists in Gaza. This is not an extreme position. This is a life-saving and reality-based position.”

Yesterday, an unnamed US official told Axios that Biden is getting increasingly frustrated with Israel’s decision to withhold tax funds in the wake of the October 7 onslaught, and has pushed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to resolve the issue.

Israel collects monthly tax revenues on Ramallah’s behalf on imports and exports, and transfers those funds to the PA, but has increasingly held off on some of the funds over various issues, chiefly Ramallah’s payment of stipends to terror convicts and the families of slain terrorists.

It has recently warned it will not allow the PA to transfer funds earmarked for services and salaries in the Gaza Strip, alleging the money could reach Hamas while Israel is at war with the terror group.

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