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Netanyahu and Obama at Israel Museum last week
Photo: Kobi Gideon, GPO

Netanyahu orders transfer of blocked Palestinian funds

Days after Obama visit, Political-Security Cabinet decides to release tax monies Israel collects on behalf of Palestinian Authority; funds were withheld as punishment for Abbas' UN bid

Israel is to resume the transfer of tariffs and tax monies it collects on behalf of the Palestinian Authority, which were frozen last year as punishment for the UN bid, the premier's office said Monday.

 

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu "has decided to authorize the transfer of fiscal revenues to the Palestinian Authority," it said in a statement, adding that the finance minister had already "charged officials with taking up the transfer of funds again."

 

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The decision to transfer the funds was approved by the members of the Political-Security Cabinet. In light of the decision, Finance Minister Yair Lapid instructed his office to resume the transfer of funds to the PA.

A spokesman for Netanyahu said the decision was to take effect "immediately."

 

Abbas and Obama in Bethlehem last week (Photo: MCT) (Photo: MCT)
Abbas and Obama in Bethlehem last week (Photo: MCT)

 

The decision comes days after a visit by US President Barack Obama to the Holy Land and follow-up meetings with both sides by Secretary of State John Kerry, who has pushed for the funds to be released since taking up his post in February.

 

Israel in early December announced it would not transfer tax and tariff funds it collects for the Palestinians in response to their successful bid for upgraded UN membership, a move the Jewish state had fiercely opposed.

 

Netanyahu authorized a one-off release of $100 million at the end of January, with an official at the Prime Minister's Office citing the Palestinians' "very difficult financial situation."

 

Ahead of Obama's visit, the Palestinian Authority urged the world to step up financial aid and press Israel to allow economic development, over fears of "political collapse" due to Israeli "fiscal strangulation."

  

 

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פרסום ראשון: 03.25.13, 16:04
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