Prime Minister Calls for Unfreezing Tax Revenues Held by Israel

RAMALLAH, January 15, 2015 (WAFA) – Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah called on Thursday upon the international community to compel Israel to release the tax revenues it collects on behalf of the Palestinian Authority.

Hamdallah’s call came as he met with the United States’ Consul General to Israel and Palestine, Michael Ratney, in the Prime Minister’s office in Ramallah.

On January 4, Israel decided to halt the transfer of around half a billion shekels ($127.6 million) in tax revenues collected on behalf of the Palestinian Authority, in response to its attempt to join the International Criminal Court (ICC), which came in response to the rejection of the United Nations Security Council statehood bid.

Since tax revenues make up to 60% of the total Palestinian budget, the Israeli move has hindered the PA’s ability to pay for civil servant wages and pensions as a collective punishment.

Palestinians’ civil servants have been waiting to receive their December salaries for 10 days now. The last time their received their November salaries on December 3.

The Ministry of Finance announced that the situation remains as it is, without any confirmation on when the salaries are expected to be paid to PA’s employees.