AL-QUDS (Dispatches) – The Zionist regime withhold $180 million in tax revenue it collect last year on behalf of the Palestinian Authority (PA), or about 7% of the PA’s total tax revenue, the occupying regime’s cabinet said on Sunday.
The regime calculates each year how much it believes the Palestinian Authority has paid in stipends to resistance fighters, and deducts that amount from the taxes it has collected on the Palestinians’ behalf.
Taxes collected by the regime form about half of the income of the PA, which exercises limited self-rule in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.
It is not the first time the regime has withheld tax funds it collects for the Palestinian Authority. In November last year, it voted to hold back approximately $182 million out of a transfer of around $731 million.
Qadri Abu Baker, head of prisoners’ affairs in the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), called the regime’s measure a crime of “terror and piracy”.
Since 1994, when the Zionist regime and the PLO signed Paris Protocol, Tel Aviv had been collecting tax revenues of imported goods on behalf of the Palestinians.
In 2018, the regime passed a controversial law, enabling it to withhold stipends from tax revenues the PA pays on the monthly basis to families of Palestinians imprisoned or killed by Israel.
The bill was pushed by Avigdor Lieberman, the leader of the regime’s right-wing party Yisrael Beitenu and Likud Knesset member Avi Dichter.
When the law was first introduced, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas declared that he would not accept the deducted sum. The PLO secretary general Saeb Erekat also condemned the decision, terming it “piracy.”