Prime Minister announces that Israel will release frozen Palestinian tax funds

Since PA signing of Roman Statute in January, Israel has frozen tax funds release as sanctions; Israel to release frozen funds

Erekat and Abbas signing of official request to join ICC (Reuters)

Erekat and Abbas signing of official request to join ICC (Reuters)

Israel announced on Friday that it would begin to release the tax funds it collected from the Palestinian Authority.

Israel gives the Palestinian Authority around $127 million in tax return for goods for the Palestinian market in transit via Israel’s ports.

Israel made the decision to halt the tax returns following the Palestinian Authority’s signing of the Roman Statute in January, a unilateral move by the Authority against Israel and any negotiaions following the United Nations Security Council rejection of their statehood bid.

The tax return freeze was set up as a sanction against the Palestinians for their refusal to cooperate and continued attempts to charge Israel for war crimes in the International Criminal Court of The Hague.

The Palestinian Authority will officially join the International Criminal Court on April 1, 2015.

The decision comes from harsh international criticism, specifically from the European Union and United Nations, and after the IDF warned this week that the economic hardships caused due to the tax freeze could cause uprisings in the West Bank. Reports also confirmed that the IDF approved high numbers of work visas for Palestinian foreign workers in Israel.

Prime Minister Netanyahu confirmed the tax funds release Friday, his office releasing the statement: The tax revenues that accrued up until February will be transferred, offset by payments for services rendered to the Palestinian population, such as electricity, water and hospitalization.

The press released stated that the decision to release the fund was for “humanitarian concerns” Netanyahu stated that it was in Israel’s best interest, stating that, “Given the deteriorating situation in the Middle East, one must act responsibly and with due consideration alongside a determined struggle against extremist elements.”

According to reports, workers of the Palestinian Authority specifically civil servants were 60% of their normal salaries due to the freeze.