Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has rejected tax revenues Israel collects on its behalf, following an Israeli decision to cut the revenues over Ramallah’s funding for terrorists and their families.
Israel announced on Sunday it would cut 5 percent of the tax revenues it sends to the PA due to the family support payments. In response, the Palestinian Authority rejected all funds from Israel, putting even more pressure on their own economy.
“We reject the tax, we don’t want it,” Abbas told visiting a US congressman in response.
“Frankly, if we are left with only 20 or 30 million shekels [$6-8 million], which is the sum paid to families of martyrs, then we will pay them to the families of martyrs,” he said in remarks broadcast on Palestinian radio.
Whilst many in the media will be blaming Israel for this, it is clearly the fault of the Palestinian Authority. If they stopped paying terrorists, they would not have to lose 5% of their tax revenue from Israel. On top of that, they are now refusing the other 95% because of their stubbornness.
They are once again hurting their own people in order to score points against Israel.
According to the Times of Israel:
The PA, which is already running a deficit, will “pay the salaries of civil servants in time, but they will be reduced,” said PA finance minister Shukri Bishara after a meeting with EU representatives in Ramallah.
The cuts will not apply to salaries “paid to pensioners and families of martyrs, wounded or prisoners,” he added, adding that wages below NIS 2,000 ($550) would also not be affected.
Many Palestinians view prisoners and those killed while carrying out terror attacks as heroes in their conflict with Israel. Palestinian leaders often venerate them as martyrs.
Under a 1994 agreement, Israel collects around $190 million each month in customs duties levied on goods destined for Palestinian markets that transit through Israeli ports.
The money it then transfers to the PA is the authority’s most important source of revenue.