Israeli Finance Minister, Yuval Steinitz, announced on Sunday that this month, the Israeli government would not be transferring tax revenues it collected on behalf of the Palestinian Authority to them. Steinitz said that the money, which is anything up to 350 million shekels, would be deducted from the total debt the PA owes Israel.
According to the website of the Israeli newspaper, Maariv, the Palestinian Authority owes the Israeli Electricity Company some 700 million shekels. The decision to deduct the debt from the money owed by the Authority was reached after consultation with Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, and applies only to the month of December.
The website pointed out that this step was taken by Israel as a punitive measure in response to the Palestinian Authority's defiance and its successful bid for an upgrade to their UN status. This is the second step the Israeli government has taken since the upgrade; on Friday it announced its decision to build 3,000 housing units in Israeli settlements and to develop the area that extends between the Ma'ale Adumim settlement and Jerusalem known as the E1 segment.