Fayyad: Palestinians may ask UN to intervene on Israel's freeze of tax funds
Israel decided at the beginning of this month not to transfer more than $100 million in customs and tax revenues it normally collects at its ports on behalf of the Palestinian Authority.
Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad Wednesday said that he was considering taking the issue of Israel's withholding of Palestinian tax revenues to the United Nations Security Council.
His comments came following meeting of the executive committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization said earlier Wednesday chaired by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, after which the PLO said it may ask the Security Council "to intervene against Israel's collective punishment policy and violation of international law."
Israel decided at the beginning of this month not to transfer more than $100 million in customs and tax revenues it normally collects at its ports on behalf of the Palestinian Authority on goods imported by Palestinians and destined to the Palestinian territories.
It cited the reconciliation agreement between the PA and the Islamist Hamas movement as the reason for its decision.
The PA, which normally receives the money at the beginning of every month, uses it to pay salaries to over 150,000 public employees. The Israeli decision made it impossible for the PA to pay April salaries so far.
Fayyad appealed to the international community for help in getting Israel to release the money.
He said the PA was already facing a very difficult financial situation even before Israel withheld the April transfers. He warned of a dire situation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip if Israel does not release the money soon.
The PA premier added that the authority has been facing a $30-million deficit every month so far this year, and had a 100-million-dollar outstanding deficit from last year.
At the same time, the PA pays more than $200 million every month in salaries and financial assistance to impoverished and most needy Palestinian families.