The Palestinian Authority has rejected Israel’s decision to make deductions from its tax revenues before transferring the funds over to it, stressing that it wants the entire sum.
Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh said on Monday that that Palestinian officials are following up on this issue with the Israelis.
“We don’t want to preempt things, but I assure you that our funds are people’s right, and your salaries are yours, and you will take all what is yours. You have been patient for months and little is left for the image to be clear to us,” the premier said during a weekly cabinet meeting.
Shtayyeh said that the government does not comment on media speculation, adding that it will first verify the exact figures from their source.
“A technical team from the Finance Ministry is following up on our dues with the Israeli side,” he stressed.
The Israeli security cabinet approved on Sunday to transfer 2.5 billion shekels ($725 million) in tax funds it has been holding for the PA as part of a resumption of cooperation between the two sides.
However, it also decided to deduct about 600 million shekels ($181 million) Israel says are stipends to Palestinians jailed by Israel, their families, and the families of those killed by Israeli forces.
In November, the PA announced the resumption of security and civil coordination with Israel following a six-month standoff.
Since May, the PA has been refusing to accept monthly tax transfers from Israel as long as it deducts from the collected money and in protest against Israel’s plan to annex parts of the occupied West Bank.
These funds constitute the largest portion of the PA’s budget and restoring them will alleviate the financial crisis and help pay employee wages and other obligations.