EU Group Concerned over Withholding Tax Revenues

BRUSSELS, February 3, 2015 (WAFA) – The Socialists and Democrats Group in the European Union (S&D Group) expressed its concern over the ongoing withholding of Palestinian tax revenues by Israel, said a press release on Monday .

Denouncing the Israeli step as illegal, the S&D Group President Gianni Pittella affirmed that the revenues belong to the Palestinians. He said, “Withholding them goes against Israel’s legal obligations of under the 1994 Paris Protocol and it undermines the effective functioning of the Palestinian institutions.”

Pittella called for “an immediate end to Israel policy of repeatedly using Palestinian revenues as a political instrument aimed at punishing the Palestinians for their political choices in particular joining the International Criminal Court (ICC).

“We are deeply concerned about the Israeli government continuing to withhold Palestinian tax revenues,” he reiterated.

The Group also expressed concerns over the financial situation of UNRWA and called for providing it with immediate international support.

UNRWA has been forced to suspend its cash assistance programme supporting home repairs and providing rental subsidies in Gaza.

S&D Group Vice-President Victor Boştinaru said, “This leaves children dying of hypothermia and thousands of families suffering through this cold winter with inadequate shelter.”

Boştinaru said such development requires immediate and effective international response in order to avoid deepening the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

“Leaving tens of thousands of Palestinian public-sector workers without a salary and thousands of families without shelter in Gaza is no way to build peace between the Israelis and Palestinians.”