The Palestinian Authority in the occupied West Bank called on the United States to stop its tax breaks and deductions to organizations that support Israel’s illegal settlements. Dr. Ghassan Khatib, head of the Palestinian Authority Media Center, said that the tax deductions are supporting “extremist settlers and terrorists.”
Khatib stated that “while the Palestinians are working hard to build their future independent state, some U.S organizations are receiving tax breaks to fund settlers who steal our land, our water, desecrate our holy sites and attack our communities and children”.
“This money undermines our efforts to build democracy”, he said, “This issue is unfair to the taxpayers in the United States, they would like to see their money helping education, funding health care or create jobs in the United States”.
The New York Times recently reported that the US treasury lost $200 million over the past decade due to tax breaks given to settler organizations that fund extremist settler movement in the occupied West Bank.
It also said that some of the groups even have ties to terrorist groups, and that despite the U.S stance that settlements are a major obstacle to peace in the Middle East, exemptions are still granted to settler organizations.
Dr. Khatib said that it makes no sense that the U.S government clearly states that settlements are a major obstacle to peace, while it gives settlements tax credits to support their activities.
He also stated that settlements are pushing the Palestinians out of their homeland while at the same time they are receiving credits from the United States.
Dr. Khatib said that at least one settler organization is led by a terrorist who is receiving such credits. The settler is David Ha’ivri, the New York Times reported, he is formerly known as David Axelrod of Queens.
Ha’ivri heads a terrorist group that is registered as a non-profit organization. The New York Times said that Ha’ivri is involved in running a group called ‘Way of the Torah”, a designated terrorist organization in the US, the Maan News Agency reported.
The terrorist group has pledged to attack mosques, olive groves or vineyards every time the Israeli government decides to freeze settlement construction.
Dr. Khatib said that under the current conditions, ‘it is virtually impossible to establish a secure and independent Palestinian state and democracy”.
The Palestinian Authority in the West Bank and the Palestinian Liberation Organization said that direct talks with Israel cannot be initiated before Israel halts its settlement activities in the occupied West Bank and in occupied East Jerusalem.