The Israeli government has again threatened to withhold the tax revenues it collects on behalf of the Palestinian Authority if President Mahmoud Abbas presses ahead with his bid for UN membership. This is the second time in a matter of weeks that Israel has used the retention of the $100 million a month income as a collective punishment of the Palestinians. On the previous occasion, the cash was withheld when UNESCO granted membership to Palestine.
A report on Israel Radio on Tuesday said that if the PA takes further "unilateral steps" it could lead to the Israeli government "reconsidering" the transfer of such revenues. The payments are obligatory for Israel under the terms of the Oslo Accords, which agreed that Israel would collect the money on behalf of the Palestinian Authority.
PA President Mahmoud Abbas applied for full-member status for Palestine at the United Nations at the end of September, seeking UN recognition of an independent state based on the pre-1967 borders. The application has yet to be agreed upon.
Meanwhile, the government in Tel Aviv has renewed its invitation to the Palestinians to return to the negotiating table immediately and with no preconditions. Israel's Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, is ready to meet with President Abbas immediately and anywhere, it is claimed.