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Israel to withhold Palestinian funds until March, at least
Published Wednesday 12/12/2012 (updated) 15/12/2012 16:45
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A young boy pictured holding a Palestinian flag.(MaanImages/file)
JERUSALEM (Reuters) -- Israel will withhold tax revenues from President Mahmoud Abbas's administration until March at least in response to his statehood campaign at the United Nations, Israel's foreign minister said.

Under interim peace deals, Israel collects some $100 million a month in duties on behalf of the Palestinian Authority in the occupied West Bank -- money that is badly needed to pay public sector salaries.

"The Palestinians can forget about getting even one cent in the coming four months, and in four months' time we will decide how to proceed," Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said in a speech on Tuesday night.

Israel says Abbas violated previous peace accords by sidestepping stalled negotiations and securing a Palestinian status upgrade in the United Nations last month.

Israel has already withheld the December transfer, saying the money would be used to start paying off $200 million the Palestinians owe the Israel Electric Corporation.

Lieberman, a hardliner in Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's conservative coalition government, said the Palestinians also had another debt with the Israeli water authority that would have to be paid off.

"Israel is not prepared to accept unilateral steps by the Palestinian side, and anyone who thinks they will achieve concessions and gains this way is wrong," he said.

Yasser Abed Rabbo, a senior Palestinian official, said earlier this month that Israel was guilty of "piracy and theft" by refusing to hand over the funds.

The European Union has also criticized Israel for not handing over the cash. "Contractual obligations ... regarding full, timely, predictable and transparent transfer of tax and custom revenues have to be respected," it said on Monday.

Israel has previously frozen payments to the PA during times of heightened security and diplomatic tensions, provoking strong international criticism, such as when the UN cultural body UNESCO granted the Palestinians full membership a year ago.

Abbas's UN victory was a diplomatic setback for the United States and Israel, which were joined by only seven other countries in voting against upgrading the Palestinians' observer status to "non-member state", like the Vatican, from "entity".

Hours after the UN vote, Israel said it would authorize 3,000 new settler homes in the West Bank and East Jerusalem and expedite planning work for thousands more in a geographically sensitive area close to Jerusalem. Critics say this plan would kill a viable Palestinian state.
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1 ) mohamed / somalia
12/12/2012 11:53
Is palestine expected to sit back and accept.

2 ) shirley / australia
12/12/2012 12:22
Isreal steals palestinian water and pal recources and palestinians then have to pay exorbitant prices for their own stolen recources thes disgusting un humans while pals deproived of even enogh water to drink Isreal complains not being paid for these stolen Recources ISREAL out GET GOING ABBASS to all UN BODIES JOIN 4th GENEVA CONVENTIONS and ICC and there is nothing to negioiate only settlements gone NO WATER Isreal can build desalination not one more drop

3 ) @ "nothing to negioiate" #2 / TRUTH
12/12/2012 16:37
1- A state that never previously existed can NOT have "recources to steal," and if Palestinians don't choose "to pay exorbitant prices", they can purchase what they want from any other state, and the TRUTH is that
2- The Israeli Finance Minister ONLY ordered $110,000 to be withheld from the Palestinian Authority, and also to be transferred to the Israel Electric Corp, to cover the unpaid Palestinian Authority debts, which still leaves an outstanding debt of another $70,000.

4 ) Abu Absa / U.S.A
12/12/2012 18:02
These Zionists don't know what to do anymore to stop the existence of the State of Palestine. Their childish behavior is a sign of their ignorance, and arrogance . They have no friends but the U.S . Hopefully Obama will see that these actions are isolating the U.S as well. The Zionists have always had it their way. How long will big brother continue to turn the other cheek?The buck stops here!! People rise and stand up to this inhuman, apartheid behavior. Free Palestine!!

5 ) lol mohamed / somalia / lol
12/12/2012 19:03
Is palestine expected to sit back and accept.? no, you can stand up

6 ) Colin Wright / USA
12/12/2012 23:40
As the occupying power, Israel is obliged to ensure the well-being of the population under her rule -- on her own dime. She can play whatever money games she likes -- that doesn't change.

7 ) carine / UK
13/12/2012 05:10
#5 - Only a person whose mental acumen is well below par would find amusement in the suffering of others...

8 ) Dubner / US
13/12/2012 07:39
Pallis must decide whether they are "occuppied territory" or not. If they are occuppied, then Israel can do whatever it wants with any money it collects. Simple and it makes sense to anyone, except Arabs and left-wingers.

9 ) Shirley / Australia
13/12/2012 09:33
PA pays outstanding electric bills http://www.jpost.com/Sci-Tech/Article.aspx?id=295690

10 ) Abu Absa / USA
13/12/2012 12:30
It makes sense to an idiot that doesn't understand what living under an occupation means. You know why??? Because he's an IDOIT. That's how SIMPLE it is.

11 ) George / Romania
13/12/2012 14:43
To Shirley #2: You better worry about paying back the price of land that you are sitting on, to the Aborigines from whom you have stolen it 200 years ago. After that, find your chains and take a walk.

12 ) Dovey / Sweden
13/12/2012 18:57
#6 Colin Wright / USA is correct. From a legal standpoint, Israel is obliged under international law & the GC IV to provide such services to those who live in militarily occupied territories.

13 ) Svet / Ukraine
14/12/2012 01:11
Those dissidents who came in Israel from X-Soviet Union, Poland, Romania etc. want to rule Israel as a criminal country in the Wold and punished everyone who come there. Each time a new creation, the latest one - Israel is a "'Jewish" country. Go to the hell Bibi, Vigtor, Sipi, Olmert, Natasha, Sasha, Zina and others. In my Bible is written PALESTINE ( as well in Torah), Palestinians will never give up because they are belong to this land.

14 ) gabi / australia
14/12/2012 07:58
# 89 - Dubner - (just like Dubya - same sense of unreality) the Palestinians are occupied. That is clear. No-one can dispute that, except those morons who say that they were given the transfer of that land thousands of years ago, a non-written transfer, of course. And international law, whether quoted by Arabs or left-wingers, or even right wingers and some Israelis, requires Israel to provide for the occupied - AND IF MONEY IS COLLECTED ON BEHALF OF THE OCCUPIED PEOPLE, NOT TO STEAL IT.

15 ) gabi / australia
14/12/2012 08:03
George/Romania - yes, Europeans invaded Australia and took their land. Some has been given back!!! The difference is that the Aborigines have the vote. Palestinians in the occupied territories who are governed by Israeli law don't get that right. OK? So think about that when you next prattle on as an apologist for Israel.
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