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U.S. Criticizes PA Moves, Israel's Sanctions

White House says the PA's unilateral moves hurt peace, as State Department says Israel's sanctions on the PA are "unfortunate".
By Elad Benari, Canada
First Publish: 4/12/2014, 1:01 AM

Livni, Erekat with Kerry, July 2013
Livni, Erekat with Kerry, July 2013
Reuters

The United States on Friday said it was against the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) turning to international organizations, but also expressed its displeasure with Israel’s sanctions on the PA.

"Unilateral moves by both sides will not accelerate the peace process, but will rather do the opposite,” said White House spokesman Jay Carney, according to Channel 10 News.

Meanwhile, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said that Israel freezing the transfer of taxes it collects for the PA is “unfortunate”.

“We’ve seen these press reports, but we have not seen an official public announcement by the Government of Israel. That said, we would regard such a development as unfortunate,” Psaki told reporters in her daily briefing.

“We believe that the regular transfer of the Palestinian Authority’s tax revenues and economic cooperation between Israel and the Palestinian Authority has been beneficial and is important to the well-being of the Palestinian economy,” she added.

An Israeli official announced on Thursday that Israel would freeze the transfer of taxes to the PA, suspend participation with the PA to develop a gas field in the sea off of Hamas-controlled Gaza, and put a cap on PA deposits in Israeli banks.

These sanctions followed other punitive measures and sanctions that Israel took against the PA after it unilaterally applied to join 15 international conventions in breach of the conditions of the peace talks.

On Friday, the PA chief negotiator Saeb Erekat said Israel's decision to stop tax money transfers to the PA is “piracy” and “cannot be maintained.”

On Thursday, Erekat also condemned the decision and labeled the sanctions as "theft." The sanctions were an act of "Israeli hijacking and the theft of the Palestinian people's money," claimed Erekat.

Meanwhile on Friday, the PA continued its unilateral moves and signed up to the Geneva Conventions, which set down the rules of warfare and humanitarian operations in conflict zone.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon signed official documents Wednesday to confirm reception of ten of the PA’s requests to conventions co-signed by the UN. 

(Arutz Sheva’s North American Desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)