Israel threatens to bypass Palestinian Authority to directly transfer tax revenues to Gaza

RAMALLAH, Nov. 5 (Xinhua) — The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) said on Monday that the Israeli government has officially informed the Palestinian Authority (PA) that it will directly transfer the tax revenues to the Gaza Strip if the PA does not do so.

The Israeli notice came after Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas threatened to stop paying Gaza as a move to pressure the Islamic Hamas movement, which has been running Gaza since 2007, to cooperate on the implementation of a national reconciliation deal signed last year, according to PLO Secretary General Saeb Erekat.

The money will be deducted from PA tax revenues collected on its behalf by Israel.

“The step will exacerbate the division between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank,” said Erekat.

He also accused Israel and the United States of isolating Gaza, the West Bank and Jerusalem, while the Palestinian leadership is “doing its best to prevent it from happening.”

The top PLO official did not mention the amount to be deducted, but the PA said its monthly payment to Gaza was 95 million U.S. dollars.

Erekat also criticized Hamas for seeking a cease-fire deal with Israel before the settlement of the internal Palestinian division.

Palestinian reconciliation efforts have faltered despite the signing of several agreements between Hamas and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah party sponsored by Arab countries, most notably Egypt.

The last Egypt-brokered agreement between Fatah and Hamas was signed in October last year, which stipulated the handover of the control of the Gaza Strip to the Palestinian consensus government, but failed over differences between the two parties.

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