Palestine slams ‘illegal’ Israeli deduction of tax revenues

Palestinian Prime Minister Muhammad Shtayyeh (Nasser Nasser - AFP)

Middle East Monitor  /  August 10, 2021

Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh on Tuesday described Israel’s deduction of Palestinian tax revenues as “illegal”, Anadolu Agency reported.

Speaking at a weekly cabinet meeting in the West Bank city in Ramallah, Shtayyeh said Israel deducts monthly 100 million shekels ($31 million) of Palestinian tax revenues and demanded the Israeli authorities pay back all money.

The tax revenues — known in Palestine and Israel as maqasa — are collected by the Israeli government on behalf of the Palestinian Authority on Palestinian imports and exports. Israel in return earns a commission of 3% of collected revenues.

The tax revenues collected are estimated at around $30-33 million every month, for which tax revenues represent the main source of income to the Palestinian Authority.

“These monthly deductions leave us in a difficult financial situation and weaken our ability to address the financial needs of our people,” Shtayyeh said.

Israel deducted 628 million shekels ($193 million) from Palestinian tax revenues in the first half of 2021, according to an Anadolu Agency survey based on data of the Palestinian Finance Ministry.

Since 2020, Israel has deducted around $16 million monthly from the tax revenues on claims that this amount is being paid out by the Palestinian Authority each month to the families of Palestinians killed or imprisoned by Israel for staging attacks against Israeli targets.