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Israel prepares to block funds if reconciliation goes ahead

Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz has said that Israel is going to block the transfer of tax revenues to the Palestinian Authority (PA) if it agrees to form a Palestinian unity government with the participation of Hamas, Al-Quds Al-Arabi reported on Monday. Tel Aviv took the same step last year in protest at the PA's application to upgrade its status at the United Nations. Partial payments were resumed only last month.


The London-based newspaper quoted Steinitz saying that Israel is to use financial muscle if the PA takes "unilateral" steps, such as forming a Palestinian national government or joining the International Criminal Court. Israel could face serious charges, including accusations of committing war crimes and crimes against humanity, if the PA goes to the ICC.

Hailing the forthcoming US presidential visit to Israel – Barack Obama's first since he took office in 2008 – Israel's foreign minister said, "Despite what journalists say, Obama's visit proves the positive relationship between Israel with the US."

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