Israel Releases Frozen Palestinian Authority Tax Funds

Prime Minister's Office confirms millions of dollars in tax revenue will go to PA; Netanyahu says important to act 'responsibly'.

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Ari Soffer,

Mahmoud Abbas
Mahmoud Abbas
STR/Flash 90

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has accepted the recommendation of Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon, as well as the IDF and Shin Bet security service, and unfrozen millions of dollars in tax revenue for the Palestinian Authority.

The Prime Minister's Office confirmed that following the decision the funds would be transferred to the PA immediately, although it added it would deduct debts due for water, electricity and other unpaid bills.

The PMO stated that the decision had been taken "based on humanitarian considerations and from a wider perspective the interests of Israel at this time.

Prime Minister Netanyahu said that given "the deteriorating situation in the Middle East it is necessary to act with responsibility... alongside a determined struggle against extremism."

The funds in question have been held back from the PA since January, in retaliation for its moves to join the International Criminal Court (ICC).

But both the US and the UN have been pressuring Israel to yield, with Secretary of State John Kerry recently warning that the U.S. fears that without a cash injection, the Palestinian Authority could collapse — entailing serious security implications for both Palestinians and Israelis.