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PA refuses to accept tax revenues from Israel without Gaza’s share

November 8, 2023 at 2:41 pm

Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas on May 25, 2021 at the Palestinian Authority headquarters in the West Bank city of Ramallah [ALEX BRANDON/POOL/AFP via Getty Images]

The Palestinian Authority has refused to accept a partial transfer of tax revenues collected by the occupation state on its behalf because Israel is withholding money allocated for the Gaza Strip.

“The Palestinian leadership refuses to receive the clearance revenues after Israel’s piracy of hundreds of millions of shekels and setting conditions for non-payment to the Gaza Strip,” said Hussein Al-Sheikh, Secretary-General of the Palestine Liberation Organisation’s Executive Committee, on X.

“The unity of the land and the people is a non-negotiable Palestinian decision, and the aspects of spending the Authority’s budget are determined by the Government of Palestine,” he added. “We will share a living with our people in the beloved Strip, even if it’s just one dirham.”

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Israel’s far-right Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich said today that he has agreed to transfer Palestinian tax revenues but only after deducting Gaza’s share.

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

The revenues are estimated to total around $188 million every month and represent the main source of income for the PA. It uses the funds to pay the salaries of public employees and retirees, who number 140,000 and 53,000 respectively.

Neither the PA nor Israel has revealed the exact amount of money deducted from the tax revenues by Smotrich.

Israel has killed at least 10,569 Palestinians, including 4,324 children and 2,823 women, in continuing airstrikes since 7 October. The Israeli death toll, meanwhile, is nearly 1,600, according to official figures.

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