Noam Schalit slams gov't for transferring tax funds to PA

PA confirms receipt of NIS 370m. from Israel; captive soldier's dad says PA now responsible for Gilad's imprisonment after unity deal with Hamas.

By JPOST.COM STAFF
May 16, 2011 17:46
2 minute read.
GOING NOWHERE. Gilad Schalit’s father Noam, pictured at the protest tent outside the Prime Minister’

Noam Schalit 311. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)

Noam Schalit on Monday criticized Prime Minister Binaymin Netanyahu's government for "giving in" to pressure and transferring tax funds to the Palestinian Authority, which had been withheld in the wake of the unity deal between Fatah and Hamas.

"Today, after the reconciliation deal signed between Fatah and Hamas and the renewal of the Palestinian Authority's sovereignty over the Gaza Strip, the PA actually is responsible for the kidnapped Israeli soldier held by his captors, who are also part of the new government set to be formed. They are holding a hostage for the purposes of extortion and bargaining," Schalit said.

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Schalit said that the Palestinian Authority, together with Hamas, was now guilty of "a clear war crime."

"Unfortunately we received no explanation of why the tax funds were transferred to the Palestinian Authority given these facts," Schalit said.

The Schalit's, through their attorney, officially demanded explanation from the prime minster, the defense minister and the finance minister of the considerations which went into the decision to release the tax funds to the PA.

The Palestinian Authority on Monday confirmed that it received from Israel about NIS 370 million which were previously frozen by the Israeli government after Hamas and Fatah signed their reconciliation agreement.

PA spokesperson Ghassan Khatib said that the transfer of money from is a "success of the Palestinian campaign that called on the international community to pressure Israel to transfer the funds."

The commissioner of wages at the PA Finance Ministry, Abd al-Jabar Salem, said that the Authority will pay PA employees their April salaries already today following the receipt of the funds.

The comments come after Israel agreed on Sunday to release millions of dollars in suspended tax transfers to the PA after receiving assurances the money will not fall into the hands of Hamas.

Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz described the two-week freeze of the funds as a "yellow card" to the PA, and warned that if it eventually formed a unity government with Hamas, or if it started funding terrorist activity, Israel would again block the transfers.


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