Palestinian Authority (PA) Minister of Civil Affairs Hussein Al-Sheikh warned that Israel’s withholding of PA tax revenues would cause a “very dangerous crisis”, Quds Press reported yesterday.
Speaking to the Israeli public broadcaster Kan, Al-Sheikh said that the PA would be “forced” to reduce the salaries of its security staff, but asked: “How will they carry out their mission if they are not paid?”
Al-Sheikh, who is a member of Fatah Central Committee, said: “The PA has repeatedly warned Israel against deducting tax revenues, which comprises 60 per cent of our budget. I am very worried to see demonstrations protesting against the deteriorating economic situation.”
“[Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu chose this time because he is going to the ballot boxes at the expense of the Palestinian blood. He decided to win at the expense of a Palestinian famine,” Al-Sheikh added, in reference to Israeli elections which are due to be held on 9 April.
He reiterated that the PA will continue paying salaries to prisoners and the families of martyrs, stressing Israel “does not have the right to stop this.”
He added: “We are still under occupation. We do not have a state and there are no negotiations or peace process in order to propose demands.”
Meanwhile, Kan revealed that the PA had filed an official request to Israel asking it to stop the tax deduction for fear of “collapse”.
On 17 February, Israel decided to block $138 million in PA tax revenues collected by Israeli customs on behalf of the PA, claiming this is the amount paid to Palestinians imprisoned, killed or wounded by the Israeli occupation.