The United States has praised Israel’s decision to release Palestinian tax revenues which have been frozen since January. A spokesman for the US state department called it “an important step” to reduce tensions between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
“We welcome the decision of the [Israeli pm] to release withheld tax revenues to the Palestinian Authority,” Jeff Rathke told the department’s daily press briefing. “This is an important step that will benefit the Palestinian people and help stabilise the situation in the West Bank.”
Rathke said that this could be a measure that reinforces good relations and lowers tension between the PA and the Israeli occupation authorities. “We hope that both sides will be able to build on this and work together to lower tensions and find a constructive path forward,” he added.
Meanwhile, the envoy for the Middle East Quartet, Tony Blair, also welcomed the announcement to release the money. “It is absolutely the right decision both for the improvement of the conditions of Palestinians on the ground and for Israel,” he said. “I hope that this will be the first of many steps, on both sides, that will mean we can work with renewed vigour to create the conditions for proper negotiations as we progress toward a two-state solution.”
Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said revenues accumulated over three months, frozen by Israel since January in retaliation for a Palestinian move to join the International Criminal Court, would be transferred after normal deductions for services rendered.