Taxman Cracks Down on Fuel Smuggling

The Israel Tax Authority's (ITA) investigative division opened one of its largest and most complex operations ever early yesterday morning. Named "Revolving Door," the crackdown is intended to put an end to the smuggling of various fuels, in particular diesel fuel, from the Palestinian Authority into Israel.

Some 200 ITA investigators and dozens of police are participating in the operation.

The PA buys its fuel from the Israeli firm Dor-Alon and, according to the agreement between Israel and the authority, Israel returns the various taxes to the PA - for use within the PA.

However, in recent years various Palestinian fuel dealers, in cahoots with Israeli dealers, have apparently found ways to bring the fuel back into Israel at a significantly lower price than that in Israel using fictitious receipts.

The loss of tax revenue is estimated at NIS 200 million. In addition, the fuel is often watered down, causing further damage.

No end to fuel strike

The workers committee at the Pi Glilot fuel depot and the energy workers union of the Histadrut labor federation yesterday said they would end their strike only in return for an agreement that would guarantee their rights in light of the structural changes proposed for the company.

The unions sent their decision to the chairman of the Pi Glilot board, Modi Shach, and to the Government Companies Authority.

The workers decided to continue the shutdown of the fuel depot "indefinitely." The workers are not storing fuel that arrives and are not providing any fuel.

If the strike does not end in a few days, fuel shortages may develop in gas stations all over the country.

Pi Glilot closed down its main depot at the Glilot Junction north of Tel Aviv two years ago, but operates three other, smaller depots with 30 workers.