Israeli Finance Minister, Yuval Steinitz, refused a request from the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank to transfer NIS 380 Million to the P.A so it can pay salaries as the Muslims celebrate the Al Fitr feast.The Israeli Radio reported that, despite recommendations from the Israeli Defense Minister, Ehud Barak, and several officials, to advance the transfer as “an act of good will”, Steinitz refused the demand.
Steinitz said that Israel must punish the Palestinians for insisting to head to the United Nations in September to seek international recognition of statehood.
The Israeli official described the move as “more dangerous than the Hamas movement in Gaza”, and claimed that the Palestinians are trying to achieve legitimacy “without recognizing Israel’s legitimacy”, and “without committing themselves to peace and stability”.
Israel collects customs and tax money on behalf of the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, as the Israeli Army controls all borders, the money, under signed peace agreements between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, must be transferred to P.A accounts.
Every time there is a political crisis with the P.A, Israel withholds the money to pressure the Palestinians into abiding by Israeli preconditions.