The Interior Committee approved for final votes on Tuesday a bill enabling to local governments in Israel to transfer certain tax revenues to nearby West Bank settlements.
The bill, which passed its first initial Knesset vote, does not enable the passage of funds from West Bank settlements to local authorities within Israel.
The bill is based on an existing law that enables the movement of funds from wealthy communities to poorer ones nearby to balance their budgets. However, it was made clear in the committee discussion, that money from wealthy West Bank settlements will not be given to poor communities located within the Green Line.
The bill, sponsored by Shas MK Michael Malkieli, refers to taxes from industrial, not residential areas. Likud MK Yoav Kish, chairman of the committee, said he may delay the bill’s legislative process if the Justice Ministry doesn’t set an expedited time frame for issuing a military commander’s order to transfer money from settlements to poor communities in Israel.
Joint List MK Yousef Jabareen criticized the bill, saying “its goal is to legitimize funneling municipal taxes and other taxes collected in Israel to settlements in the occupied territories.”
“In practice this is another in a series of annexation bills the rightist government is advancing to apply Israeli law beyond the Green Line,” he said.
MK Akram Hasoon (Kulanu) commended the bill and said that in 2004, when he was head of Daliyat al-Karmel’s council, he received financial assistance from the wealthy Jewish local councils around him.
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