JERUSALEM (JTA) – Israel will transfer withheld tax revenues to the Palestinian Authority (PA) without deductions for Palestinian debts.
The transfer of about half a billion dollars in taxes collected between December and March was set to take place Monday following last Friday’s agreement between Israel and the PA, according to reports.
The PA has refused the transfer because Israel wanted to deducted some of the money to cover the Palestinians’ debts for utilities and hospital bills.
Under the agreement, Israel will transfer the full amount for December through February, and then a joint Palestinian-Israeli economic committee will discuss the remaining debt and how to repay it, Haaretz reported Sunday.
PA Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah said that once the funds are received, the PA will pay the April salaries of its 180,000 employees, who have received 60 per cent of their wages since December, the Palestinian news agency Maan reported.
Israel collects taxes for the Palestinians and transfers the funds to the Palestinian Authority, about $127 million a month.
Israel withheld the collected tax revenues beginning in January after Abbas signed requests in late December to join the International Criminal Court and other international conventions as a result of the failure of the United Nations Security Council to pass a Palestinian statehood proposal.
The Palestinians are believed to owe millions of dollars to Israel for utilities, as well as for visits to Israeli hospitals.