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Israel Releases Over $1bn Of Withheld Tax Funds To Palestinians

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Israel

Weeks after coordination was renewed between Israel and Palestine, Israel has released more than $1 billion in funds withheld from the Palestinian authority, a Palestinian minister said on Wednesday,2 December.

“The Israeli government transfers all financial dues of the clearance to the account of the Palestinian authority, amounting to three billion, seven hundred and sixty-eight million shekels, including customs taxes, that the Jewish state collects on behalf of the Palestinian authority, civil affairs minister Hussein al-Sheikh wrote on Twitter,

According to Aljazeera, in May the Palestinians stopped coordination with Israel, with PA leader Mahmud Abbas saying it was in response to Israeli plans to annex parts of the west bank.

Israel later put its annexation plans on hold in return for an agreement to normalise ties with the United Arab Emirates, announced in August.

In halting the cooperation with Israel, the PA also stopped accepting transfer of taxes particularly customs duties collected by Israel on its behalf.

Earlier in the week, an Israeli official told AFP on condition of anonymity that the security cabinet approved transferring the money to the PA without specifying the amount.

Palestinian prime minister Mohammed Shtayyeh said on Monday that the Palestinians were entitled to the funds expected to relieve pressure on a Palestinian economy in the grips of a severe budgetary crisis.

Officials will take everything they are owed, they have been patient for months and it’s only a matter of a little more time to make everything clear, Shtayyeh said.

Deprived of this income the PA had to cut the salaries of its civil servants, at a time when the Palestinian economy had begun grappling with the impact of coronavirus pandemic.

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