Israel sends Palestinians over $1 billion in withheld funds

U.S. President Donald Trump, with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, United Arab Emirates’ Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Bahrain Foreign Minister Dr. Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayani, wave after an Abraham Accords Signing Ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House on Tuesday, September 15, 2020 in Washington, D.C. (Yuri Gripas/Abaca Press/TNS)

Ramallah, Dec 2 (IANS) A senior Palestinian official on Wednesday said that Israel has transferred all tax revenue dues to the Palestinian Authority.

Hussein al-Sheikh, head of civil affairs in the Palestinian Authority, said in a press statement sent to Xinhua that the Israeli government sent about 1.2 billion US dollars to the treasury of the Palestinian Authority.

This move came as result of the resumption of the diplomatic ties between the Palestinian Authority and Israel in mid-November, after a six-month severance over Israel’s plans to annex parts of the West Bank.

According to Palestinian officials, this amount of money will help the Palestinian Authority raise the salaries of its employees, which have been deducted for more than five months.

In May, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas announced that the Palestinian Liberation Organization ended all agreements and understandings reached with Israeli and US governments.

Abbas’ decision was made in response to an Israeli government’s plan to annex around 33 percent of the West Bank and impose Israeli sovereignty on settlements in the territory.

As a result, the Palestinian Authority refused to take the tax revenues from Israel.

According to the bilateral economic treaty signed between Israel and Palestine in Paris in the 1990s, Israel collects taxes on behalf of the Palestinians from the trade that enters the Palestinian territories through Israeli-controlled crossings.

Israel agrees to transfer the tax money to the Palestinian Authority every month, which uses it to pay salaries to its employees and cover its operation costs.

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