Sun, 26 May 2019

Israeli tax ban described by Arab League as 'piracy'

By Jay Jackson, The Virginia Beach News
19 Feb 2019, 00:09 GMT+10

CAIRO, Egypt - Just days after foreign ministers from Arab nations sat down with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Warsaw, the Arab League has slammeds the Jewish state, accusing it of "theft" and "piracy."

At issue is a decision by Israel to freeze more than $100 million in tax revenue that Israel collects on behalf of the Palestinians.

"This decision is a continuation of the Israeli piracy and theft of the Palestinian people's funds and resources," the Cairo-based league said in a statement released on Monday.

The body of Arab nations has called on United Nations agencies to "face this new Israeli aggression," describing the freeze as "a clear violation and flagrant breach of international commitments."

The Israeli government on Sunday announced it was deducting NIS 502 million ($138 million) from the funds that would normally be channelled to the Palestinian Authority.

Israel says it is imposing the ban in protest at the authority paying money to families of Palestinians that have carried out attacks on Israelis.

The Palestinians argue it is not Israel's money, it collects the taxes on Palestinian imports and exports on behalf of the Palestinian Authority, headed by Mahmoud Abbas.

The total sum collected each month and normally passed on is $175 million, representing the main source of revenue for the Palestinians.

On Thursday a one-day conference in Warsaw saw Mr Netanyahu and Arab ministers coming together on what was billed as a security conference on the Middle East, but in reality was a forum on how to combat Iran. Mr Netanyahu spoke freely about Arab cooperation and tweeted that secret meetings had been going on for years between Israel and Arab countries, and foreshadowed greater cooperation, and the normailzation of diplomatic relations in the near future.

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