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Report: Israeli forces open fire on Palestinian march near Qalandia
Israel seizes PA tax revenues, official says
Published Monday 01/09/2014 (updated) 03/09/2014 22:29
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(MaanImages/file)
NABLUS (Ma'an) -- Israel has seized some 200 million shekels ($55 million) from monthly tax revenues it collects on behalf of the Palestinian Authority, a senior Palestinian official told Ma'an on Monday.

The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said Israel took a cut of 90 million shekels ($25 million) to cover the unpaid debts of a Palestinian electricity company.

A further 90 million shekels ($25 million) was taken to cover other PA debts, while around 30 million shekels was seized to cover the cost of Palestinian patients referred to Israeli hospitals by the PA.

The seizure will further jeopardize the PA's ability to pay civil servant salaries in Gaza, having faced months of crisis over unpaid employees.

The 380 million shekels ($106 million) transferred by Israel will only cover 40 percent of the monthly wages for PA civil servants in the West Bank, the official said.

The move by Israel is a deliberate attempt to create obstacles for the Palestinian unity government, the official added.

The government faced its first crisis in June when the PA's Gaza-based staff received their wages but their Hamas counterparts went empty-handed.

On Sunday, senior Hamas official Mousa Abu Marzouq said an agreement was reached between Hamas and PA officials to pay salaries on Wednesday, although that looks to be unlikely given Israel's seizure of PA funds.

Each month, PA salaries cost around $200 million, $120 million of which is covered by taxes collected by Israel on behalf of the occupied Palestinian territory.

The Paris Protocol was signed in 1994 as an annex to the Oslo Accords that established the interim Palestinian government.

The Protocol gave Israel sole control over Palestine's external trade, and collection of customs duties, allowing the state to serially hold back this revenue as punishment for Palestinian political measures, such as the bid for UN membership.
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1 ) Mark of Lewiston / USA
01/09/2014 13:43
The key is to find an alternative tax mechanism like an income tax or some other tax that Israel is not authorized to collect. Then lower the rate on the tax Israel is allowed to collect, gradually to Zero. Every time they withhold revenue, cut the taxes they collect. A retail sales tax collected by merchants as an add-on and paid to the government is common in the US. Merchants just cut prices since customs is lower and have an add-on to make up the difference.

2 ) Dimi / Germany
01/09/2014 14:23
Although I do not know to much about the background of the story but it seems the way how Israel is handling the matter is correct,possible,the easiest way to get money for unpaid bills by PA. Even in the reach Germany people are punished if they enjoy electricity,medical service etc. and do not pay for that.

3 ) Marnie / israel
01/09/2014 15:11
Excellent suggestion #1 - this is ridiculous and is always used as a punitive measure and I don't see how israel can be trusted to handle anything. Seems they have enough ways to punish people - this is disgusting.

4 ) Jeff / USA
01/09/2014 15:40
Why would you recommend that thePA avoid their debts. They referred people to Israeli hospitals; they should be paid. They owe money for electricity. Israel should be paid. Do you try to cheat on your debts to people or do you pay them? I'm sure you pay them. Why encourage delinquency?

5 ) carine / UK
01/09/2014 16:12
Israel sure knows how to kick a man while he's down. No compassion whatsoever...UGH!!

6 ) Leonie Pipe / New Zealand
01/09/2014 18:31
No Carine, it's something called tax avoidance. Every country imposes it, not just Israel

7 ) Edward / United Kingdom
01/09/2014 19:43
If I don't pay my electricity bill, the supply gets cut off. If I owe people money, they can apply to court to arrest my salary. There is absolutely no difference between that and what is happening here.

8 ) Todd / Canada
01/09/2014 19:59
The electrical and medical bill I understand, but what was the other debt?

9 ) inbound39 / New Zealand
01/09/2014 21:13
Wait until Palestine sends Israel the Water Bill!!!!

10 ) Norman / Canada
01/09/2014 21:45
What compassion have to do with paying taxes? In any "normal" country you are obligated to pay taxes. Israelis pay high taxes. Why should Palestinians not be required to pay their share? If Israelis don't pay their electricity bills, for example, the electricity is cut off. Fair is fair. You don't pay your taxes you should not benefit from these services.

11 ) leah / usa
01/09/2014 22:19
nonesense! why should israel carry their debt? why should israel pay the electricity for rockets to be fired on its cities? do you pay your debts? comeone people - enough of this blame game! the PA/Hamas want electricity then they must pay for it!

12 ) Janene Roussell / USA
01/09/2014 22:59
You people have no idea as to how much Israel does for the PA for FREE!!! The PA do not pay for water, electricity or hospitalization which they OWE to Israel, but Israel is so KIND-HEARTED...they have not charged them...AT ALL!!! But the PA is now CRYING that Israel is un-compassionate because they are now COLLECTING what is due them??? KNOW YOUR FACTS before you lay blame on someone, okay? The PA is BILLIONS in debt to Israel!!! GOD BLESS ISRAEL!!!

13 ) Deborah Beaudoin-Zaki / USA
01/09/2014 23:08
Why is Israel putting their hands out for billions of USA taxpayer dollars each year when the Palestinians are so poor and being exterminated by an apartheid nation. Why are the USA government giving away the USA taxpayer billions to Israel when Israel has a higher standard of living than the USA and lower unemployment than the USA? Why are USA getting billions from the USA when Israel citizens have government sponsored health care for all of their citizens and the USA does not?

14 ) Sarfaraz / Pakistan
01/09/2014 23:16
@Leah - if you had used your brain the rockets are not fired from West Bank. This article is about West Bank. Why do you comment and try to show so-called intelligence when you don't know anything about the situation?

15 ) Sean / USA
02/09/2014 00:50
In America we garnish peoples wages to pay their debts...Israel is 100% correct???or should just cut off the electric service as electric companies due to customers in USA who do not pay their bills....then you would scream about that....stop screaming and start collecting money to help your terrorist friends pay their bills

16 ) @ Carine-5 / Truth
02/09/2014 03:43
Israel only seized the value of the electricity that the PA received, but for some reason yet paid for, and besides "a man while he's down" should accept peace or Expect to Be "Kicked" Again.

17 ) Fritz / USA
02/09/2014 03:52
Israel should allow the Gazans to tap the gas reserves that lays offshore in their territory. That way, Gaza could produce it's own electrical power and possible derive income from selling gas. Maybe then, the Gazans would want to live in peace rather than instigating war after war. Gaza should pay for the electricity that they receive from Israel as well as other debts that they owe.

18 ) carine / UK
02/09/2014 10:54
Leonie & Norman - Israel COLLECTS taxes on behalf of PA (see the last paragraph) and witholds it on a whim, as and when it pleases - it's called 'collective punishment'! Unfortunately, Palestine has no way of taxing Israel on the water, land, natural resources etc stolen from them - but hey ho - what goes around comes around!!

19 ) Aida / ch
02/09/2014 13:22
Well, this is ridiculous. Israel was allowed to distroy Gaza in few weeks... they should be sent a bill for reconstruction of everything they distroyed on the Gaza territory. It's impossible to pretend to have normal economical and tax flow while you are killing people and distroying infrastructures at extreme.

20 ) @ Fritz-17 / USA too
02/09/2014 14:51
-17- Israel should consider "allowing the Gazans to tap gas reserves that lays offshore", * AFTER GAZA ACCEPTS PEACE WITH ISRAEL, and until that time, * ISRAEL SHOULD do nothing to HELP GAZA, to encourage Hamas to drop Jihad, and to consider real peace, and -18- Israel collecting PA Taxes is an Oslo Accord Agreement, just as the PA paying for the services that Israel provided, so the PA violated the agreements first, and SIEZING a fair part of the TAXES IS JUST.

21 ) meraxes / Palestine
02/09/2014 15:36
Under international humanitarian law, the occupying power has the obligation to provide for the occupied peoples basic needs if it does not have the capacity to do it by itself. So, if Israel provides any electricity or medical care Palestine is not able to provide to its people, it is NOT generousity, it is their obligation. The seizure of these 200 Mio NIS seems rather a further attempt to break the unity government and to create one more obstacle for a viable Palestinian state.

22 ) carine / UK
02/09/2014 16:11
#20 - Israel also witheld money from Palestinians as collective punishment for daring to apply to UN for statehood - is witholding money part of the Oslo Accord Agreement? Funny how Israel applies the Oslo Accords when it's to their advantage and thumbs it's nose when it's not...

23 ) Reason / Middle East
02/09/2014 16:30
We do not live in a "normal" situation, we live under occupation. The PA should dismantle itself and return to exile and the full financial burden of the occupation should be given back to Israel!!!!

24 ) @ #23 Lack of / Reason
03/09/2014 21:57
You should know for certain, that should the PA should dismantle itself, Israel will Not pick-up what it put down, and UNRWA will not either, so the teachers, doctors, and trash collectors will Not be paid at all, electricity and water will Not be purchased at all from Israel either, and Palestine potential for statehood will dramatically decrease !!!

25 ) Simone / United Kingdom
06/09/2014 03:10
Deborah Zaki - What is wrong with you? 117 Hamas officials are suddenly millionaires because they are stealing from the people who would have everything if the tax dollars got to them. Instead of building tunnels that cost $3 million a piece they should have been helping their people and paying for their electricity. The PA owe billions to Israel and they still charge the people for electricity the people dont get it free!! Check your facts and blame Hamas and PA for the Palestinians plight

26 ) Julie / USA
06/09/2014 07:02
"They referred people to Israeli hospitals; they should be paid" Hey Jeff, how much have the Latin American governments paid us for their people being treated in our hospitals? "They owe money for electricity. Israel should be paid" :unpaid debts of a Palestinian electricity company.: So if ComEd owes the federal government money, then the state of Illinois should pay the debt?
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