(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)
Palestinian-Israeli Meeting Fails to Resolve Tax Funds Crisis
Palestinian Authority Minister of Civil Affairs and Fatah Central Committee member Hussein al-Sheikh said ongoing talks with Israel about the seizure of Palestinian deducted funds did not make any progress.
“I met with the Israeli Minister of Finance Moshe Kahlon and Palestinian Minister of Finance Shukri Bshara yesterday(Wednesday) and discussed means to solve the clearance issue,” he tweeted.
“We demanded that Israel release the funds,” he said.
Their meeting at the Israeli Ministry of Finance headquarters in Jerusalem was attended by Coordinator of Government Activities in the Palestinian territories Maj. Gen. Kamil Abu Rokon.
Israeli sources said they only discussed economic matters, explaining that it was one of a series of meetings that brought them together in an attempt to reach a solution to the crisis.
Israel wants to reach a settlement in this matter in a way that would prevent the collapse of the PA.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Kahlon have earlier discussed emergency plans, should the PA’s financial system collapse over its refusal to accept tax dividends collected by Israel.
Israel has tried to transfer large sums of money to the PA, which refuses to accept them without the deducted amounts, leading to a critical financial crisis.
Israel collects around $190 million a month in customs duties levied on goods destined for Palestinian markets that transit through Israeli ports, and then it transfers the money to the PA.
In February, it decided to deduct around $10 million a month from those revenues, corresponding to the amount it said the PA paid families of prisoners or directly to inmates serving time in Israeli jails.
Palestinians responded by saying they would refuse any funds from which unilateral deductions had been made.