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Palestine decries Israel ‘piracy’ after tax money deduction

September 5, 2023 at 8:29 pm

Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh holds a press conference after Israeli forces raided and shut down 7 Palestinian NGOs allegedly having links to terrorism in Ramallah, West Bank on August 18, 2022. [Issam Rimawi – Anadolu Agency]

Palestinian Prime Minister, Mohammad Shtayyeh, on Tuesday decried Israel’s deduction of tax money as a “piracy”, Anadolu Agency reports.

Israeli Finance Ministry said, Tuesday, he will deduct money from funds Tel Aviv collects on behalf of the Palestinian Authority (PA) to pay down Palestinian electricity debts for Israel Electric Corp (IEC).

“This is a systematic piracy and a theft of our money,” Shtayyeh said in a statement.

“These deductions are a declaration of financial war that completes the ongoing political war against the Palestinian people,” he added.

The Palestinian Premier urged the US administration and the EU “to intervene to stop all these policies”, warning of “dangerous repercussions” from the Israeli decision.

According to Israeli media, the Palestinian debt for IEC is estimated at around two billion shekels (nearly $526 million).

The Palestinian side, however, says their debts are only 800 million shekels ($210.5 million).

The PA has been facing multiple economic hardships over the past years as a result of Israeli decisions to deduct or halt the transfer of Palestinian tax revenues collected by Israel.

The tax revenues – known in Palestine and Israel as maqasa – are collected by the Israeli government on behalf of the PA on Palestinian imports and exports. Israel in return earns a commission of 3 per cent of collected revenues.

The tax revenues collected are estimated at around $30-33 million every month, for which tax revenues represent the main source of income to the PA.

READ: The PA’s quest for control at the expense of the Palestinian people