Citing regional stability and Israeli interests, Netanyahu decided to release PA funds that were being withheld in retaliation for diplomatic warfare.
After withholding Palestinian Authority (PA) tax revenue collected by Israel on their behalf since January, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu decided to release the funds, ostensibly for the sake of regional stability.
The Prime Minister’s Office announced on Friday the approval of recommendations by Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, the IDF and the Shin Bet (Israeli Security Agency) to transfer the funds accumulated in recent months up until February.
However, overdue payment for services such as electricity, water and hospitalization will be deducted from the sum, the statement clarified.
The decision was made, among other reasons, based on humanitarian concerns and in “overall consideration of Israel’s interests at this time.”
Netanyahu explained that “given the deteriorating situation in the Middle East, one must act responsibly and with due consideration alongside a determined struggle against extremist elements.”
Fear of PA Collapse and Violence
The decision in January to withhold the funds was made in response to the PA’s bid to join the International Criminal Court (ICC) in order to charge the Jewish State with “war crimes.”
Israel, which collects taxes for the PA as part of the Oslo Peace Accords, had frozen PA assets twice before in retaliation for anti-Israel actions.
The US expressed concern that the PA might collapse. “It’s true we’re very concerned about the continued viability of the Palestinian Authority if they do not receive funds soon,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters in February.
Israel came under pressure by the US and UN to release the funds .
The IDF warned that the deteriorating financial situation, partially tied in with the tax funds freeze, could generate violence in Judea and Samaria.
By: Aryeh Savir
Staff Writer, United with Israel
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