The current crisis centers around the Israeli deduction from tax transfers to the Palestinian Authority in response to payments to terrorists and their families.
By World Israel News Staff
Israeli officials are telling the Palestinian Authority (PA) that they will not be intimidated by threats of a financial collapse of the Ramallah regime, although they are preparing for such a scenario.
The PA is refusing to accept Israeli money transfers from tax revenues collected on its behalf to protest Israel’s deduction of the amount equal to that which the Authority pays terrorists and their families.
Israel says that if the Palestinians would cease funneling out the terror payments, it would respond by transferring the full extent of the tax revenues. Jerusalem also argues that the 1994 agreement, part of the Oslo process, according to which Israel collects the tax revenues on behalf of the Palestinians, allows the Israeli foreign minister to freeze the transfer.
According to Israeli figures, the PA spends about seven percent of its budget on stipends to terrorists and their families. The monies that Israel transfers are said to total more than half of the Authority’s budget.
To protest the Israeli cut, Palestinian officials are warning that they might pull out of the Oslo Accords, which granted them self rule during the 1990s in Arab localities located in Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon held an emergency meeting on Sunday to prepare for the possibility of a PA collapse. According to a Channel 13 TV report, Kahlon met with a senior PA official on Saturday to discuss the issue.
In an interview with Israeli public broadcaster Kan, former PA Minister of Prisoners Affairs Ashraf al-Ajrami said Monday that “the Authority is refusing to accept the money because Israel is violating agreements.” He expressed overall frustration with the Israeli government and its close relationship with U.S. President Donald Trump.
He warned that the PA might take “significant steps” during the coming month, adding that it could include a move to “unequivocally declare that the Oslo accord is dead.”
The outgoing chairman of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, MK Avi Dichter, told Kan that the PA must understand that it cannot “fund terror and also ask Israel to ensure its stability.”