The Israeli Cabinet decided Monday to withhold Palestinian tax and customs money it collects on behalf of the P.A, The decision was made despite the opposition of Israeli Defense Minister, Ehud Barak, Barak and security officials in Tel Aviv said that freezing the money would harm the the Palestinian security services that proved to be effective in maintaining the security situation in the West Bank.

Meanwhile, Israeli Foreign Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, Finance Minister, Yuval Steinitz, defended the move and stating that the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank must be sanctioned for its UN applications, and for reconciliation with the Hamas movement in Gaza.

Steinitz told that Israeli Radio that ‘he is willing to jeopardize the future of the Palestinian Authority of Abbas.

‘The P.A is trying to establish a state without reaching an agreement with us’, Steinitz stated, ‘In the past, transfer of tax money was halted for 18 months, and the P.A did not collapse. Our actions are against moves that resemble strategic threats to Israel’.

Israel To Transfer Withheld Palestinian Tax Money
Mon, 14 Nov 2011 01:14:19

The Israeli security-political cabinet of Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, is slated to convene Monday in order to approve the transfer of $100 Million of Palestinian Tax money Israel withheld after the Palestinian Authority managed to achieve membership at the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

Israeli daily, Haaretz, reported that the majority of cabinet ministers will likely vote for transferring the money especially since the Israeli security establishment opposes withholding the money as such measures affect the conducts of the Palestinian security forces in the West Bank.

Haaretz added that the Israeli Army Central Command and the Shin Bet (Internal Security Services) are convinced that withholding the money would eventually destabilize security arrangements with the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank.

The Israeli Cabinet still wants to impose sanctions against the P.A., including withholding tax money, should it continue to seek recognition at different United Nations institutions.

The outcome of the Palestinian statehood application, filed to the UN in September, still remains undetermined as Palestine needs nine votes at the Security Council in order to be admitted as a full member.

The U.S. said it will veto the vote, but both Tel Aviv and Washington are holding talks with different countries in order to convince them to vote against the vote so that the US will not have to veto it.

On Friday, the admission committee of the Security Council failed to reach consensus on admission of Palestine to the United Nations.

According to Haaretz, President Abbas told U.S. Middle East envoy, David Hale, on Sunday, that the P.A. is willing to cooperate with the International Quartet Committee in order to ensure the resumption of peace talks.

Abbas said that Israel must halt all of its settlement activities in the occupied territories, including in occupied East Jerusalem, and must recognize the 1967 borders as the basis for upcoming peace talks.

Quartet envoys will be holding separate meetings on Monday with Chief Palestinian Negotiator, Dr. Saeb Erekat, and Netanyahu’s representative, Yitzhak Molcho.