Israel to withhold tax monies collects for Palestinian funding over ‘terror’

Vastavam web: Ministers today greenlighted a bill allowing Israel to withhold tax monies it collects for the Palestinian Authority by the same amount as stipends that the PA pays to jailed militants.Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman, whose ministry drafted the bill, welcomed the vote in a ministerial committee, the first step toward sending it to parliament to be passed into law.Israel annually collects around 127 million in customs duties levied on goods destined for Palestinian markets that transit through Israeli ports monthly and then transfers it to the PA.

It has withheld payment in the past, notably in response to Palestinian admission in 2011 to the UN cultural agency UNESCO as a full member.The Israeli move comes as the US Senate considers a bill approved by the House of Representatives to withhold aid to the PA if it does not stop the controversial practice of so-called martyr payments to families of Palestinians convicted of terrorist attacks.According to the Israeli bill, Lieberman will present an annual report detailing payments to “terror activists” and their families granted by the Palestinian Authority”, his office said.

“Based on the report, the sum will be deducted from payments handed from Israel to the Palestinian Authority.” The bill will now face a series of parliamentary debates and votes before being finalised.