Israel to withhold $35 million from Palestinian money

Israel to withhold $35 million from Palestinian money

Israel’s finance minister says withheld funds will be transferred to Israeli families whose members killed in Palestinian attacks

By Abdelraouf Arnaout

JERUSALEM (AA) – Israel’s far-right Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich decided Tuesday to deduct some $35 million from the Palestinian tax revenues.

In a statement, Smotrich said that the withheld money would be transferred to Israeli families whose members were killed in Palestinian attacks.

Last week, the Shin Bet domestic security agency warned that the Israeli government policies against the Palestinian Authority (PA) in the occupied West Bank may lead to its collapse.

The PA paid only 50% of salaries to civil servants last month following an Israeli decision to withhold tax revenues from the Ramallah-based authority.

The tax revenues – known in Palestine and Israel as maqasa – are collected by the Israeli government on behalf of the PA on Palestinian imports and exports and Israel in return earns a commission of 3%.

The revenues are estimated to total around $220 million every month and represent the main source of income for the PA.

*Writing by Ahmed Asmar

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