Israel freezes Palestinian tax funds, Erekat:  ‘collective punishment’ for Palestinians

Occupied Jerusalem, SANA,

Israel has halted transfers of the tax revenue it collects on behalf of the Palestinians in retaliation for their move to join the international criminal court in the Hague.

On Friday, the Palestinians delivered documents to U.N. headquarters in New York on joining the Rome Statute of the ICC in The Hague and other global treaties with the aim of prosecuting Israelis for war crimes committed on their territory.

On Saturday, Israel reportedly had decided to withhold the taxes collected for the Palestinians under the current interim peace accords and transfers each month to the Palestinian Authority.

Senior Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat lashed out at the Israeli maneuver, calling it a “collective punishment” against the Palestinian people.

 “If Israel thinks that through economic pressure it will succeed in diverting our approach from freedom and independence, then it is wrong” Erekat told the Associated Press. “This is the money of the Palestinian people and Israel is not a donor country.”

On Dec. 30th, the UN Security Council failed to adopt a Palestinian bid calling for the creation of a Palestinian state and an end to Israeli “occupation”.  US and Australia voted against the move with 5 abstentions.

The draft resolution gathered only 8 votes in favor, so it was automatically defeated. The US however still voted against the resolution. Another veto power state, the UK, along with Lithuania, Nigeria, Korea and Rwanda have abstained from the vote.

R. al-Jazeri/ Barry

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