Palestinian Authority (PA) Finance Minister Shukri Bishara said yesterday that his ministry started measures of international arbitration to change the Paris Economic Protocol, Wafa news agency reported.
He told reporters in Ramallah that PA President Mahmoud Abbas signed the decision to resort to international arbitration in March and the government took the decision in its last meeting and agreed to mandate his ministry to carry out the mission.
The minister said that the PA government mandated his ministry to take the issue of the outstanding files, particularly the Paris Protocol with a goal to changing it, and other detailed files to the International Court of Arbitration in The Hague.
Bishara accused Israel of evading the pledges of the Paris Protocol as it has been imposing unilateral measures, which made the occupation a profitable project.
In 1994, he said, the size of the Israeli economy was $76 billion; however, in 2017, it became $369 billion. “We believe that at least one third of this growth is the result of the Paris Protocol,” he stressed.
He explained that the total amount of what Israel has withheld from the clearance revenues, which are the Palestinian taxes on imports from Israel and abroad collected by Israel on behalf of the PA, exceeded $3.5 billion in the last five years alone.
Of the $3.5 billion, he said, $400 million was taken as three per cent commission on the collection and over $3 billion for services, electricity, water, medical transfers and sanitation.
“This gives an idea of how much money Israel has taken from the Palestinian clearance revenues over 25 years,” he said.
“We saw in the current financial crisis, which started February, an opportunity to change the whole system of the Paris Protocol,” he added.