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20 Jan, 2015

Israel’s Freeze of Tax Revenues Devastating Palestinian Economy

RAMALLAH, January 19, 2015 (WAFA) – ‏Palestinian Finance Minister, Shukri Bishara, Monday said that Israel’s illegal freeze of 70% of the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) income, in tax revenues, is a devastating blow to the Palestinian economy.

He stressed that this Israeli punitive measure, which came in response to acceding to the International Criminal Court (ICC), has negative repercussions that will affect all sectors, including banks, the private and public sectors and marginalized families.

Israel froze the transfer of almost $125 million in tax revenues it collects on behalf of the PA, in retaliation to president Mahmoud Abbas’ accession to 16 international treaties and organizations, including the ICC.

This step came following failure of the United Nations Security council to approve a Palestinian draft resolution calling for an end to the occupation and the establishment of a Palestinian state by 2017.

He said that Israeli government’s immediate resorting to such unjustifiable measures proves a grave political failure.

The Palestinian government announced on Sunday that it was able to secure 60% of public servant wages through Arab countries’ contributions and through syndicated lending from banks. The government, in statement Monday, affirmed that 60% of the public employees’ wages will be in banks today.

The remaining of employees’ salaries are considered a debt on treasury and will be paid later once the PA can secure them, he said.

The minister urged to exert more pressure on Israel to force it to release the PA’s tax revenues.