PA vows to continue payments to prisoners, families of ‘martyrs’

The PA threatened that it will “go to international courts and institutions and to take all legal and diplomatic measures” to thwart Netanyahu’s plan.

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February 5, 2019 17:24
2 minute read.
Palestinian Hamas-hired civil servants wait to receive their salaries paid by Qatar

Palestinian Hamas-hired civil servants wait to receive their salaries paid by Qatar. (photo credit: REUTERS/IBRAHEEM ABU MUSTAFA)

 
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The Palestinian Authority has again said that it will continue to pay salaries to Palestinian security prisoners and the families of Palestinians killed while carrying out attacks on Israel, despite Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s plan to authorize withholding taxes and tariffs collected for the PA in correlation to the payments.

The PA threatened that it will “go to international courts and institutions and to take all legal and diplomatic measures” to thwart the prime minister’s plan.

Netanyahu’s move will be the first of its kind since the Deduction Law was passed last year. The law requires the Defense Ministry to present the security cabinet with a report on how much the PA paid to the prisoners and the families, and for the Finance Ministry to deduct that amount from the taxes and tariffs Israel collects for the PA.

Israel Hayom reported this week that Netanyahu will carry out the law, but is concerned that it will destabilize the PA and is therefore seeking to find a way to balance between the two elements.

In response, the PA government in Ramallah on Tuesday accused Israel and the US administration of “employing various forms of pressure to force the Palestinian leadership to accept the deal of the century,” referring to US President Donald Trump’s yet-to-be-announced plan for peace in the Middle East, which the Palestinians have repeatedly dismissed as a “conspiracy aimed at liquidating Palestinian rights and the Palestinian cause.”

The PA government said that the taxes and tariffs collected by Israel belong to the Palestinian public. “Any deduction from these revenues is nothing but a continuation of Israeli piracy against billions of dollars that Israel has stolen,” the government said in a statement after its weekly meeting. “This is also a clear and blatant violation of Israeli obligations in accordance with signed agreements, especially the Paris Economic Protocol.”


Signed between Israel and the PLO in 1994, the Protocol on Economic Relations, also called the Paris Economic Protocol, regulates the relationship and interaction between Israel and the Palestinians in the areas of customs, taxes, labor, agriculture, industry and tourism. The agreement’s tax system allows Israel to collect and transfer to the PA the import taxes on goods intended for consumption in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

The Palestinian leadership, headed by President Mahmoud Abbas, has already rejected US aid, the PA government said. “Today, we affirm our refusal to succumb to blackmail and bargaining.”

The Palestinian leadership, it added, is “committed to the rights of the families of the martyrs and prisoners, and to providing them with a dignified life. It will always support the prisoners and the families in their battle, until their unconditional release from the prisons of the occupation.”

The PA government accused Israel of practicing a “policy of pressure, blackmail and incitement to force us to stop supporting the families of prisoners and martyrs.” The US administration, it said, should also “stop its policy of incitement and pressure,” against the Palestinians.

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