Israel to release $420 million Palestinian funds
The Israeli government confirmed on Monday that it has started to release tax receipts owed to the Palestinian Authority (PA). Israeli officials stated that the government is willing to release a total of two billion shekels ($420 million) in tax revenues to the PA providing that a US team of observers oversees the transaction as assurance that the funds will not be funneled to militants.
Israel has frozen close to $700 million in PA funds since the beginning of the Al-Aksa Intifada in September 2000. PA officials have asserted that by withholding revenues, the Israeli government is hindering their capacity to carry out reforms and intensifies the hardships of West Bank and Gaza Strip residents.
Creating severe liquidity problems for the PA, the interruption of the monthly transfers of tax receipts collected by Israel is in direct breach of the Paris Accords, which state that Israel must return the money it collects on behalf of the PA within six days.Israel has been rebuffing "heavy international pressure" to hand over the funds, which are kept in the treasury and have not been used by Israel. — (menareport.com)
© 2002 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)