Palestinians decline deducted tax money from Israel

The Palestinian Authority (PA) said Monday it will not receive deducted tax revenues from Israel, and will return the money for the third month in a row.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas told his cabinet that public sector employees will receive only 60 percent of their April paychecks, citing the financial crisis facing the Palestinian government as a result of the slashed revenues.

Three months ago, Israel deducted money from the tax money it collects on behalf of the PA for goods entering the Palestinian market in exchange for a three percent fee.

The occupation authority deducts 5 percent of the tax money as a punishment against the PA for stipends it pays to the families of Palestinian detainees held in Israeli jails.

Before deduction, the revenues account for 65 percent of the PA's budget, which rendered it unable to meet its financial commitments. Civil service employees have received only half of their salaries in the past two months.

Abbas said Israel is attempting to legitimize the tax deductions, noting that the PA had resorted to the international community to expose the punitive Israeli measure, and also asked Arab countries to provide a financial safety net of $100 million, and is awaiting a response.

Also during the cabinet meeting, the Palestinian leader called on the Palestinian Hamas group, which rules the Gaza Strip, to opt for reconciliation and carry out an accord that was signed in Cairo on Oct. 12, 2017, to end inter-Palestinian divisions.