At a press conference Monday, Prime Minister Salam Fayyad criticized Israeli authorities for making it impossible for the Palestinian Authority to pay last month’s salaries to staff members and contractors by withholding Palestinian tax revenues.
First published by Palestine Monitor
He asked the international community to make Israel let go of the taxes that rightfully belong to the Palestinians.
“What is needed is to move quickly to pressure Israel to release these funds,” Fayyad said. “We need urgent and immediate assistance.”
Sunday, Israel informed the Palestinian government that the monthly funds collected by Israel on its behalf would be suspended until further notice.
According to Fayyad, Israel’s decision was “political” and a consequence of last week’s reconciliation agreement between Fatah and Hamas and Israel’s way of fighting political unification.
The money comes from taxes and customs on goods imported by Palestinians through Israeli ports and consist primarily of consumer taxes, explained Fayyad. He therefore found it “unacceptable” that Israel feels the right to control the administration of it and called it “an abuse of Israel’s occupational power”.
“It’s not a gift or donation from Israel – it’s taxes paid by Palestinian tax payers,” he said.
According to Fayyad, Israel collects two thirds of the Palestinian taxes which is estimated to a little over 100 million dollars a month. The last third is collected by the PA.
“This is not the first time that tax payments have been delayed,” said Fayyad and expressed serious concern that the PA won’t be able to transfer the revenues to the PA treasury during the first week of the month as it has been done since 2007.
“If the situation continues the capacity of the PA will not be able to fulfill its obligation to its employees and contractors,” said Fayyad, explaining the current financial struggle of the. “It’s no secret that we’ve been suffering since 2010.”
“We are deeply concerned to solve this issue,” he said and asked for the people to be patient and for the international community, in particular the Arab countries, to pressure the Israel.
Fayyad also said he will appeal to banks to give the PA loans to help it make its immediate obligations.