Middle East Monitor / May 4, 2023
Israel has deducted more money from the taxes it collects on behalf of the Palestinian Authority (PA), local media reported.
This came following the orders of far-right Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, who redirected the funds to Israeli families.
He claimed that the money going to the PA, known as clearance revenues (CRs), is used to finance the Palestinian resistance, ignoring the fact that his government maintains strong security coordination with the PA in an effort to subjugate Palestinians.
“The state of Israel is stopping the financing of terror by the Palestinian Authority, we will not let this absurd situation continue,” he said.
Israel withheld 3.2 million shekels ($883,000) this month after deducting 139 million shekels ($38 million) in January from the revenues due to the PA, he said.
The Palestinian Authority (PA) is facing a crippling financial crisis. Estimated at $2.4 billion annually – 15 per cent of GDP – CRs constitute the backbone of the PA budget. They account for 65 per cent of total PA revenues and cover over half of its expenditure. Israel’s deduction of the payments have left the PA unable to pay staff salaries. While donors’ direct budget support to PA has also declined over the past decade.