Isael Political Brief November 30, 2011: Israel releases Palestinian Authority funds

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS

Israel releases PA funds

Source: JTA, 11-30-11

Israel released $100 million in tax funds it had withheld from the Palestinian Authority.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced Wednesday the handover of the money, the transfer of which had been frozen on Nov. 1 in response to the Palestinians’ recognition as a state by UNESCO, the United Nations cultural and scientific agency.

Israel, which collects tax and customs on behalf of the Palestinian Authority under interim peace accords from the 1990s, has been troubled by the PA’s lobbying for full U.N. membership as bilateral negotiations remain stalled.

Netanyahu’s office said in a statement that the decision to free the cash, a month’s worth of levies that the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority depends on to pay its civil servants, “followed the cessation of unilateral steps on the part of the Palestinian Authority.”

“In the event of the Palestinian Authority resuming unilateral steps, the money transfer will again be reviewed,” the statement said.

Among those opposed to relinquishing the cash was Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who noted that PA President Mahmoud Abbas has feted terrorists freed by Israel as part of last month’s prisoner swap with Hamas.

But Lieberman, whose Yisrael Beiteinu party is a junior party to Netanyahu’s Likud in the conservative coalition, said Monday that he would not quit the government in protest at a restoration of the PA funds.

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Israel Political Brief November 28, 2011: PM Netanyahu tells Knesset Committee he’s considering releasing frozen PA funds

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS

Netanyahu says he’s considering releasing frozen PA funds

Source: JTA, 11-28-11

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told a Knesset committee that he could release frozen Palestinian Authority funds soon.

Netanyahu reportedly told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on Monday that he is reconsidering holding $100 million in Palestinian tax revenues collected by Israel since the Palestinians have halted their bid to be accepted into international organizations.

Israel has been withholding the tax payments collected on the Palestinians’ behalf since the Palestinians were accepted as a full member of UNESCO, the United Nations scientific and cultural agency. It has continued to withhold them over Fatah-Hamas unity talks….READ MORE

Israel Political Brief November 23, 2011: UN’s Ban tells Netanyahu to release PA funds

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS

U.N.’s Ban tells Netanyahu to release PA funds

Source: JTA, 11-23-11

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to hand over tax monies collected for the Palestinian Authority.

Ban in a phone call Tuesday also told Netanyahu to stop building in Jewish settlements.

Israel transfers to the Palestinian Authority about $100 million in tax payments collected on the Palestinians’ behalf each month.

“The secretary-general appealed to Prime Minister Netanyahu to immediately resume the transfer of Palestinian tax and customs revenues, in line with Israel’s legal obligations,” Ban’s spokesman, Martin Nesirky, told the French news agency AFP. “He also expressed his deep concern about Israel’s announcement of further settlement expansions, including in east Jerusalem, which undermine current peace efforts and violate international law.”

Netanyahu and his inner Cabinet of eight ministers in a meeting Sunday decided to continue the suspension that began early this month, shortly after the Palestinians were admitted as a full member of UNESCO, the U.N.’s scientific and cultural agency. The suspension will continue, according to Haaretz, due to new movement between Hamas and Fatah to form a unity government.

The defense establishment, including Minister of Defense Ehud Barak, has called for the payments to be reinstated. Israeli security services reportedly have argued that withholding the funds, which go in part to pay Palestinian police officers, could hamper security arrangements in the West Bank.

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