By Hacer Baser
JERUSALEM (AA) - The Israeli Security Cabinet approved the withholding of $43 million of tax funds from Palestinians, claiming the money has been used to promote violence, local media reported Sunday.
Defense Minister Naftali Bennett had made the proposal, according to Israel-based Channel 13.
Israel claims that Palestinians have used such funds to pay the families of Palestinians who have been jailed or killed as a result of attacking Israel. However, Palestinians say the funds are needed to help families affected by violence and the Israeli occupation.
Palestinian official Hanan Ashrawi condemned the move, calling it a "blatant act of theft and political extortion."
Israel’s 13-year-old blockade of the Gaza Strip has shattered the coastal enclave’s economy and deprived its 2 million inhabitants of free movement in and out from Gaza, preventing the entry of many basic amenities.