The chief Palestinian negotiator in current Mideast peace talks called Israel’s decision to stop tax money transfers ‘piracy’, Al Ray reports from Gaza.Saeb Erekat said, Friday, ‘The Israeli decision to withhold these funds is piracy… it cannot be maintained,’ according to a report by the Associated Press (AP).

He also said that talks persist, though ‘gaps remain big.’

Erekat spoke a day after an Israeli official said Israel would stop the tax money transfers in retaliation for Palestinians pushing to sign up for more recognition from international agencies and treaties.

This comes just following Israel’s failure to release a remaining number of Palestinian prisoners, as promised according to negotiations, and continuing with illegal settlement expansion in land recognized under international law as Palestinian territory.

(Israel collects about $100 million a month in taxes from the Palestinian community.)

U.S. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki deemed the Israeli move ‘unfortunate’, on Friday.

The Palestinian-Israeli negotiations have faltered after being conditionally extended under a US mediation in July of 2013.

The nine-month term set for the talks, to compromise a comprehensive peace deal, is about to end with Israel stubbornly setting new conditions before Palestinian negotiators in establishing Palestinian statehood.

The occupation now demands for a recognition of a Jewish state, a sovereignity over the Jordan Valley and an undivided capital based in Jerusalem, while going on with militant colonial settlement construction, often accompanied by violent civilian and clerical participation, in the West Bank.

The Hamas Movement and Islamic Jihad have long been in opposition to so-called ‘peace talks’, favoring the ‘resistance approach’ in dealing with the Israeli policies in the occupied territories, with leftist parties, including in the forefront the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), calling on Abbas to quit the ‘futile peace talks’.