Abbas Requests Arab Aid After Israeli Tax Revenue Freeze

Palestinian president urges Arab foreign ministers to launch a new UNSC bid on ending Israeli occupation; UN calls on Israel to renew tax revenue transfer.

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Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas gestures during a speech in the West Bank city of Ramallah on January 4, 2015.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas gestures during a speech in the West Bank city of Ramallah on January 4, 2015.Credit: AFP

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has asked the Arab League to provide a "safety net" of $100 million a month to cover tax revenues withheld by Israel in retaliation for his attempt to join the International Criminal Court.

During a meeting with Arab foreign ministers in Cairo on Thursday, Abbas also called for the formation of a committee to launch a new bid seeking a UN Security Council resolution on ending the Israeli occupation, a month after the council rejected a similar initiative.

The ICC bid is part of a wider strategy aimed at bringing international pressure to bear on Israel. In response, Israel froze the monthly transfer of $120 million in taxes that it collects for the Palestinians, forcing the Palestinian Authority to halt salary payments for 153,000 employees.

Also on Thursday, the UN called on Israel to renew the transfer of Palestinian funds immediately.

"We call on Israel to immediately resume the transfer of tax revenues," UN deputy political affairs chief Jens Anders Toyberg-Frandzen told the UN Security Council. "The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is now entering unchartered territory, which, lamentably, seems to have dashed any immediate hope for a return to peace talks."

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