Meretz President Tamar Zandberg & PA President Mahmoud Abbas


Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas has criticized the Government of Israel for withholding part of the funds from customs fees and other taxes it collects on behalf of the Palestinian Authority because of Ramallah’s policy of paying salaries and stipends to the terrorists imprisoned in Israel and to the relatives of the dead terrorists.

Abbas made the remarks during a meeting with Meretz president Tamar Zandberg and other leaders of the leftist party at the PA headquarters in Ramallah.

“We tell the Israeli government that it has no right to deduct our funds against our will,” Abbas said.

The Political and Security Cabinet decided in February to approve the gradual retention of 502,697,000 million shekels (138 million dollars) of the Palestinian Authority’s fiscal revenues during the next year. This body made the decision to begin implementing a new law that allows Israel to withhold taxes from the Palestinians for payments made to Palestinian terrorists imprisoned in Israel and to the families of the dead terrorists.

Israel collects customs duties and other taxes every month on behalf of Ramallah, and transfers them to the Palestinian Authority coffers. But outgoing prime minister of the PA, Rami Hamdallah, announced in late February that the Jewish state retained last month 41,800,000 shekels (11,516,000 dollars) of taxes transferred to the Palestinians.

Hamdallah also stated that the Palestinians refused to receive all tax funds from Israel in protest of the measure.

Palestinian officials have said that the Palestinians will not accept the taxes that Israel collects for the Palestinian Authority, if Jerusalem does not transfer the total amount to Ramallah. The Jewish state has recently raised around 193 million dollars in monthly taxes for the Palestinian Authority.

Zandberg said she went with other leaders of the Meretz party to Ramallah to send him “a message of peace.”

“Peace is the supreme interest of the State of Israel. It must be at the center of the elections and the agenda of the next government, “Zandberg said, referring to the upcoming national elections on April 9.” Peace will guarantee Israel’s security and it is in the interests of the two peoples. The road to peace is to negotiate a two statesolution