Israeli Security Cabinet on Sunday approved stealing more $43 million of tax funds from Palestinians, claiming the money has been used to promote violence.
The sum, Israel claims, the Palestinians used to pay the families of Palestinians who have been jailed or killed by Israel.
Palestinian officials say the payments are needed to help vulnerable families who have been affected by Israeli occupation.
Under past agreements, Israel collects customs and other taxes on behalf of the Palestinians and transfers the money to the Palestinian Authority.
These monthly transfers, about $170 million, are a key source of funding for the budget of the authority, which administers parts of the Israeli-occupied West Bank and Jerusalem.
Israel last year passed a law deducting parts of these transfers that it said were supporting martyrs’ families. Sunday’s decision was a continuation of that policy.
In February, after Israel decided to steal $140 million a month, the Palestinians said they would reject all transfers to protest the Israeli policy.
But six months later, with the Palestinian Authority in a deep financial crisis, the sides worked out a deal to resume most of the transfers.
Palestinian official Hanan Ashrawi denounced the latest Israeli move, calling it a “blatant act of theft and political extortion.”
“This is a clear violation of Palestinian rights and signed agreements as well as a criminal act of punishment exacted under illogical pretexts,” she said.
Palestine Post 24