Fatah: Israel’s Tax Freeze “Declaration of War’
Israel has declared war on the Palestinian Authority (PA) by freezing tax revenues after the PA joined UNESCO, a Fatah official charges.
Fayiz Abu Aita, a spokesman for the party headed by PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, said that the Israeli measure and its announced speed-up of building in Judea and Samaria will have “disastrous results for the entire region.”
"This is a declaration of war", Aita said in a statement issued by the Media and Culture Commission and quoted by the Bethlehem-based Ma'an news agency, closely identified with the PA. Israel decided last week to withhold customs revenues collected by Israel on behalf of the PA at crossings into Judea, Samaria and Gaza.
"Israel bears full responsibility for this dangerous escalation,” he added, warning that trying to “undermine” the PA will impact the entire Middle East.
Israel froze the tax revenue and sped up building plans in retaliation to Abbas’ most blatant violation of the Oslo Accords, which prohibit Israel and the PA from taking unilateral moves to achieve goals.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu explained that Israel had to make it clear to Abbas that he cannot change the rules only for himself.
The Oslo and Roadmap agreements commit the PA to try to achieve status of statehood through negotiations with Israel. Abbas has set pre-conditions on direct talks for two years and this year turned to the United Nations for recognition.
The formal request is due to be discussed this month by the United Nations Security Council, but he went ahead and succeeded in winning recognition in the UNESCO agency.
Aita called the moves a "miscalculated Israeli adventure."