In another measure meant to “punish” the Palestinian Authority (P.A) in the West Bank for signing 15 international treaties, the Israeli government of Benjamin Netanyahu decided to enforce various sanctions, and placed a hold on the transfer of Palestinian Tax money it collects on West Bank border terminals.Talking on condition of anonymity, an Israeli official told the France Press that the decision is meant to pressure the P.A into halting all of its international moves, and resume peace talks with Tel Aviv.
He added that Israel also suspended its participation in a project to develop a gas field near the Gaza shore.
The decision is part of economic and political sanctions imposed by Israel on the Palestinians for deciding to join 15 international conventions last week. Tel Aviv “justifies” its move by alleging the Palestinians breached the condition that led to the resumption of direct peace talks.
An Israeli official also told the AFP that Tel Aviv would be deducting what he called debt payments from tax money Israel collects on border terminals on behalf of the P.A., which has no control on West Bank border terminals.
The sanctions imposed upon the P.A. will cost it around $110-150 Million collected monthly by Israel; the money is roughly two-thirds of income that is usually transferred to the Palestinian Authority. It is used for paying salaries, pensions, and other services provided to the Palestinians.
Israel previously suspended the transfer of Palestinian Tax money whenever the P.A joined international treaties, including when the P.A managed to obtain an observer state status at the United Nations. Back then, the United States also halted the transfer of aid money to the P.A.
Talking to Reuters, Palestinian official Yasser Abed Rabbo said sanctions imposed by Israel do not scare the Palestinians, and only prove Israel is a racist state that resorts to illegitimate acts of collective punishment, in addition to its ongoing settlement construction and expansion activities, in direct violation of International Law.
On Wednesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered his ministers to stop their meetings with Palestinian officials, and to hold all sorts of economic and civil cooperation.
Israel also canceled all VIP permits its grants to Palestinian officials and businesspersons to ease their travel, exports and imports on border terminals in the occupied West Bank.
Also, among the sanctions imposed on Palestinians, Tel Aviv decided to halt the transfer of telecommunications equipment that the Watania cellular company wanted to send to Gaza to install 3G technology.
Israel also suspended plans for developing new Palestinian communities in Area C of the occupied West Bank, under Israeli civil and military control.
The Palestinian Authority in the West Bank said it cannot continue direct talks with Tel Aviv while Israel is ongoing with its illegitimate activities, including daily arrests and invasions, and its ongoing and escalating construction and expansion activities of Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank, including occupied Jerusalem.