Israeli forces late Friday began to confiscate tax clearance certificates from Palestinian merchants at the main commercial crossing between Israel and the West Bank, according to Palestinian security sources.The sources told Ma’an News Agency that Israeli officers took clearance certificates by force from several merchants at al-Jalameh crossing, in Jenin, in an apparent effort to enforce the latest round of sanctions against Palestinians announced by Israeli officials, Friday.
An Israeli army spokeswoman said she was not familiar with the incident.
Separately, the sources said the al-Jalameh crossing would be closed from Sunday to Tuesday, due to the Passover holiday.
Merchants regularly deliver tax clearance certificates the Palestinian Authority, which receives tax revenues from Israel on a monthly basis according to the certificates.
Israel, which collects about $111 million in taxes on behalf of the PA — two-thirds of its revenues — announced Friday it would freeze the transfer of that money in a new round of sanctions.
PLO chief negotiator Saeb Erakat lashed out at the move, calling it an act of ‘Israeli hijacking and the theft of the Palestinian people’s money.’
The decision is a ‘violation of international law and norms by Israel’ in revenge for the Palestinians’ move to join a raft of international treaties as a state, Erakat said.
Peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians were relaunched in July under the auspices of the US after nearly three years of impasse.
Israel’s government has announced the construction of thousands of settler housing units and its army has killed 60 Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza since the negotiations began.