Israel cuts Gaza funds from Palestinian tax transfer

Israel cuts Gaza funds from Palestinian tax transfer

Israel has announced that it will proceed with a tax revenue transfer to the Palestinian Authority (PA) in the occupied West Bank. However, funds bound for Hamas-ruled Gaza will be withheld. The PA uses these funds to cover public sector wages and pay for electricity in Gaza. The Israeli cabinet has also decided to withhold money to offset stipends paid by the PA to Palestinian militants and their families. The PA has not yet responded to this decision, but in the past, they have refused to accept trimmed tax transfers. It is estimated that the PA spends about 30% of its budget in Gaza, where they also provide medicine and social assistance programs.

The PA exercises limited self-rule in the West Bank but does not administer Gaza. Hamas, an Islamist rival, took control of Gaza in a brief civil war in 2007. However, the PA still employs thousands of civil servants in Gaza. Under interim peace accords, Israel collects taxes on behalf of the Palestinians and typically transfers them to the PA monthly with the approval of the finance minister. The latest transfer was scheduled to be released by the end of October.

Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich has refused to release the funds, accusing the PA of supporting the “horrific massacres of the Nazi terror organization Hamas” following a deadly attack by Hamas on October 7. Defense Minister Yoav Gallant appealed for the funds to be disbursed to help restore stability in the volatile West Bank, where violence has increased since the Hamas attack. However, the cabinet’s announcement stated that funding for Gaza and militants’ families would be excluded, which seems to be a compromise between the demands of the two ministers.

PA President Mahmoud Abbas has called for an immediate halt to Israeli attacks and the release of prisoners, stating that Gaza is facing “a war of genocide and massacres.” He has also condemned the killing of civilians on both sides. The tax funds, along with aid from foreign donors, make up the majority of the PA’s public revenues and are used to pay civil servant salaries and provide other services in the West Bank.

In 2019, the Palestinians rejected the tax money multiple times after Israel reduced the amount due to the PA’s support for the families of jailed or slain Palestinian militants.

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Hi, I'm Alex Perez, an experienced writer with a focus on lifestyle and culture news. From food and fashion to travel and entertainment, I love exploring the latest trends and sharing my insights with readers. I also have a strong interest in world news and business, and enjoy covering breaking stories and events.

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