The US yesterday opposed Israel’s decision to freeze the transfer of Palestinian tax revenues saying the move will only “increase tensions” between the two sides, the Anadolu Agency reported.
Israel has frozen tax revenues due to be transferred to the PA amounting to $127m
“We conveyed to the Israelis that freezing the tax revenues is an action that raises tensions,” the department spokesman Jen Psaki told reporters at a daily briefing yesterday. “We oppose any actions that raise tensions and we call on both sides to avoid it.”
Psaki pointed stressed that Washington also opposes the Palestinian bid at the International Criminal Court. “We’re deeply troubled by the Palestinian action regarding the ICC. Hard as it is, all sides need to find a way to work constructively and cooperatively together to lower tensions, reject violence, and find a path forward. This action is entirely counterproductive and does nothing to further the aspirations of the Palestinian people for a sovereign and independent state. It badly damages the atmosphere with the very people with whom they ultimately need to make peace,” she said.
Psaki renewed US warnings that any attempt by the Palestinians to prosecute Israeli officials at the ICC will have “implications” including cutting US aid to the Palestinian authority. “Congress has a great deal of power in that regard, and that has been historically true. They are obviously watching closely what happens,” she said.
The US Congress passed a bill last month that allows cutting US aid to the Palestinian Authority if it insisted on joining UN organisations or presses charges against Israeli officials at the ICC.
Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu decided to freeze the transfer of $127 million of tax revenues owed to the Palestinian Authority in response to the latter’s efforts to joining the International Criminal Court, according to an Israeli official.
The tax revenues constitute the main income for the Palestinians budget which is used to pay the salaries of public servants.