Israel restores tax transfers to Palestinians
JERUSALEM — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has authorized a resumption of the monthly transfer of taxes and customs duties collected by Israel for the Palestinian Authority, his spokesman said on Monday, providing badly needed relief for the cash-strapped Palestinian government in the West Bank.
The move, made days after a visit by President Obama, reverses an Israeli decision to suspend the regular tax transfers as punishment for the successful Palestinian bid in November to become a nonmember observer state at the United Nations.
During his visit, Obama urged a resumption of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, and Israeli media said he and Secretary of State John Kerry, who held follow-up meetings with Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, pressed for confidence-building measures to help restart negotiations.
Mark Regev, a spokesman for Netanyahu, said at the end of Obama's visit that Israel was prepared to carry out confidence-building steps, provided they were also taken by the Palestinians.
The taxes and customs duties handed over by Israel, about $100 million a month, amount to two-thirds of the Palestinian Authority's domestic revenue. The authority has been struggling to pay salaries of about 150,000 employees because of disruptions in the Israeli transfers and a falloff of funds from foreign donors, particularly from Arab states.
Israel twice released Palestinian tax funds collected in December and January to avert a deepening of the fiscal crisis, but the overall suspension of the regular transfers remained in force until Netanyahu's decision was announced.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
- Nuke talks push past extended deadline
- Greece gets one more breath from EU
- Afghan delegation to meet Taliban
- British pause for decade of pain that begun with country’s worst terror attack
- Marijuana reform advances in Chile
- Russia: Don’t let selfie kill you
- Militants attack Egyptian army checkpoints in Sinai, kill 53
- Indonesia plane crash death toll 141 as search effort ends
- Wave of attacks sets Israelis on edge
- Iraqi fighter jet drops bomb over Baghdad, kills 12 people
- Egypt proposes anti-terrorism measures in response to attacks by Islamist militants