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Fayyad: PA close to breakdown after tax block
Published Thursday 24/11/2011 (updated) 29/11/2011 12:58
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Salam Fayyad addresses a news conference in the West Bank city of Ramallah
(MaanImages/Mustapha Abu Dayeh, Pool)
OSLO (Reuters) -- The Palestinian Authority is "fast approaching the point of being completely incapacitated" by Israel's refusal to hand over tax revenues belonging to the authority, Prime Minister Salam Fayyad said Thursday.

Israel's freeze on the taxes and fees it collects for the Palestinian Authority at borders has deprived the government of two-thirds of its normal revenue since Nov. 1, making it hard to pay salaries and fix infrastructure, Fayyad said.

"This is our money," he said. "It has nothing to do with donor assistance or anything like that."

He spoke at a press conference alongside Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere, who demanded an end to the policy that Israel imposed a day after the UN cultural agency UNESCO granted full membership to the Palestinians.

"It amounts to waterboarding an economy," Stoere said, "because you almost kill it while allowing a small amount of air to come in."

Israel has called the withholding of funds "temporary" and complained the Palestinians were unwilling to open direct peace talks, while Palestinian leaders have said they would talk only if Israel halts settlement activity in areas it occupies.

Fayyad said the frozen funds amount to some $100 million per month, or two-thirds of the Palestinian Authority's revenue stream excluding international aid.

He spoke shortly after President Mahmoud Abbas met in Cairo with exiled Hamas leader Khalid Mashaal to push implementation of a reconciliation deal between their parties.

Fayyad reiterated that he was willing to step down if it would help heal divisions between the rival factions and pave the way for presidential and parliamentary elections. Hamas has rejected him as head of a joint government.
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1 ) EE / UN
24/11/2011 19:17
UNESCO and UN should help with money, Hamas can also ask Iran for more money for their body Abbas.

2 ) Mitri I. Musleh / Canada
24/11/2011 19:36
Israel’s leaders should give peace a chance. They can start by not black mailing the Palestinian Authority, but by providing positive reinforcements to what would lead to a real peace and security to both the Palestinians and the Israelis.

3 ) Mark of Lewiston / USA
24/11/2011 19:47
Some tough choices are ahead, and they will steer what Israel does.who gets laid off first, docs or teachers, nurses or cops. The Legislative Council should be devising a new, replacement tax structure that bypasses Israel as the collection agent as the VAT is repealed. Negotiations with Egypt should intensify.

4 ) Mark of Lewiston / USA
24/11/2011 20:07
Repeal the VAT. Make it illegal. Use a sales tax. More paperwork, but just slightly. But a move like that stops PA money from being held hostage. Israeli sanity will not break out soon.

5 ) Yehuda Solomon / Israel
24/11/2011 21:55
Yes, yes, and Y-E-E-E-E-S-S-S !!! ... Fayyad is RIGHT !!! This money freeze crap is already backfiring on us like hell. It doesn't matter IF THE ENTIRE U.N. recognizes a fully-established (second) Palestinian nation west of the Jordan River. NOTHING is changing as far as we're concerned and it's the Palestinians who are SUFFERING. This policy of ours is probably only going to be reversed if somebody physically pounds some sense into our PM (and no, I'm NOT advocating violence, (continued)

6 ) Tony B? / ME
24/11/2011 21:57
Tax collection was a part of the Oslo agreement. The PA broke Oslo when they continued to incite Jew hatred on their TV channel and in schools. They broke Oslo again when they started the BDS campaign. You can't expect Israelis to collect taxes while you try to damage their economy. Now the PA has joined forces with Hamas, Israel's enemy, not peace partner! You don't collect taxes for your enemies, you silly boys! Get a reality check, or get your Norwegian friend to buy you an aqualung.

7 ) Yehuda Solomon / Israel
24/11/2011 22:04
just forcefully EXPRESSING the insanity of our PM in this matter). I have a hunch this is going to be resolved and resolved soon. Nobody in their right mind wants Palestinian money held hostage because of a U.N. agency's role in recognizing a (second) "Palestinian" nation, despite any future diplomatic or political consequences. It's so dumb it's pathetic. The money transfers WILL be resumed and resumed SOON.

8 ) Tibi / Tubas
25/11/2011 00:47
Abbas and Mashaal have "agreed to work as partners", and Mashaal's government is NOT close to breakdown due to taxes, so maybe the PA should actually have a real breakdown, particularly since they are never going to follow the Road Map, or restart the peace process, and create a Palestinian state anyway !!!!!

9 ) Rob / USA
25/11/2011 02:03
The PA broke the Road Map and Oslo by going to the UN, and when you break agreements there are consequences.Not only that ,but a chunk of that money goes to Hamas. But I have some ideas: 1) Get Abbas and Fatah to use the $1.5 B Palestine Investment Fund for the people that it was intended for. 2) Steal less, and make Sufa Arafat live on less than $100K per month 3) Cut back on $$ for 'security forces', no one is going to attack Palestine. Make concessions to Israel, make peace.

10 ) southparkbear / usa
25/11/2011 06:00
are they too big to fail?

11 ) Johnny / Canada
25/11/2011 08:03
Tony B is absolutely right. The Palestinians can't break the Oslo accords and still expect Israel to keep them. If the Palestinians need a greater revenue stream, the PA should start collecting its own tax's-- they will have to if Palestine ever becomes a country, so they might as well practice.

12 ) Nour / Palestine
25/11/2011 08:22
I pray for some positive outcome in all of this...namely the cessation of so-called security collaboration with the Apartheid colonist entity.

13 ) Mel / USA
25/11/2011 16:58
Of course...all factional leaders &technocrats could dip into their own Swiss,Tel Aviv,Cayman,UAE bank accounts,& take out a few 100 million of their own tax shekel-free PILLAGE,to feed the hungry oppressed masses they claim 2 represent,on both sides of the ethnic apartheid wall?They've had decades of lucrative blood-money,including Israeli/US Zionists who've sucked money illegally from USA &Israeli citizens 4 their political/ideological "crusade".Israel feeds on foreign HOSTS too, lest we 4GET?

14 ) Mel / USA
25/11/2011 17:12
Cont: So,how's about the USGovt,EU/UK etc,stop all ILLEGAL checks/weapons,science/education subsidies,to militarist,occupying Israel 1st & remind Zionism how it ALSO survives,to this day,on FOREIGN welfare,subsidies,tax-free,'gifts',free LOOT,from bigger foreign HOSTS? It's high time parasitic Zionism went & paid its OWN way too.But then,parasites CAN'T can they?Or,do Israeli's choose to ignore this sensitive truism still? Positivism is good,but focus on reality is essential.For USA too!

15 ) @ Nour #12 / Tobias
25/11/2011 22:30
Amazing, but true: You & Zionist have "common-ground": - Zionists too are praying for the exact same thing, the "cessation of so-called security collaboration," since [1] the "collaboration" has both passively allowed, and [2] even actively participated (during the Intifada) in the abducting, killing, & murdering of Israelis !!!!!

16 ) Business / Israel
26/11/2011 00:00
@#12: yes please quit security "cooperation". Then we can end this charade. The only security we have is from tzahal and the fence, not from your absurd security forces. I am tired of the whining. No we shall not finance a war against us and neither shall the next president of the USA I am guessing. Get your money from your Arab friends or china- see how fast they pay. Of course you could try work but from the looks of the neighborhood culture, that seems unlikely.

17 ) Rob / USA
26/11/2011 01:09
*chuckle* Israel is an important US ally who contributes far more than the aid they receive in facilities use, training and intel, high tech contributions to joint weapons projects and the cost of defending NATO's soft underbelly and the Eastern Mediterranean. Plus, they spend 80% of US aid in America. Conservative estimates are that 'cutting off all aid to Israel' would cost the US between $10 and $15 billion. Plus, unlike the Pals, they never supported Saddam or danced in the streets on 9/11

18 ) Tobias / USA
26/11/2011 22:40
Fayyad and some NYC stores have something in common, They both lie to draw in customers, where the "PA is close to breakdown after tax block", and some NYC stores have had "Going Out Of Business" signs posted for decades, to make the tourist think there are actually bargains inside on merchandise !!!
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