Palestine Daily, Jan 4: Israel Punishes Palestinians With Cutoff of Tax Revenues

UPDATE 1230 GMT: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, in prepared remarks for the press at the start of the weekly Cabinet meeting, “The Palestinian Authority has chosen confrontation with Israel and we will not sit idly by. We will not allow [Israeli] soldiers and commanders to be hauled before the International Criminal Court….It is the Palestinian Authority leaders — who have allied with the war criminals of Hamas — who must be held to account.”

Striking back at Palestine’s decision to join international agencies, Israel has cut off tax revenues to the Palestinian Authority.

The Netanyahu Government, which had promised sanctions within hours of the Palestinian move on Wednesday, froze $127 million which was supposed to be transferred to Ramallah on Friday.

After the UN Security Council failed ;ast week to support a Palestinian resolution for Statehood and an end to the Israeli occupation by 2017, Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas signed the documents for accession to agencies including the International Criminal Court.

Israel fears that its officials and soldiers could be tried for war crimes under a Palestinian submission to the ICC. West Jerusalem has countered that it could try Abbas and other leading Palestinian officials in US courts.

A senior Palestinian Authority official said that the cutoff will be challenged in the the first complaint at the Court.

Israel’s centrist party leaders Tzipi Livni and Isaac Herzog, challenging Prime Minister Netanyahu in March elections, said move it would only harm Israel’s interests. They claimed, “Netanyahu has no other solution to Israel’s deteriorating situation in the world.”

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Scott Lucas is Professor of International Politics at the University of Birmingham and editor-in-chief of EA WorldView. He is a specialist in US and British foreign policy and international relations, especially the Middle East and Iran. Formerly he worked as a journalist in the US, writing for newspapers including the Guardian and The Independent and was an essayist for The New Statesman before he founded EA WorldView in November 2008.


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