Washington Welcomes Israel's Decision to Unfreeze PA Taxes

State Department spokesman says Israel's decision to release frozen tax revenue to the PA is "an important step".

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Elad Benari, Canada,

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The United States on Friday welcomed Israel's decision to release frozen tax revenue to the Palestinian Authority (PA).

"We certainly hope both sides would be able to build on this," State Department spokesman Jeff Rathke said, according to the Reuters news agency. "We think it's an important step."

Rathke told reporters at a briefing the move will benefit the Palestinian Arab people and said that having a functioning Palestinian Authority is important to stability in Judea and Samaria.

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

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu had earlier on Friday accepted the recommendation of Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, 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, to cover amenities including water, electricity and hospitals.

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.

Both the U.S. and the UN had been pressuring Israel to unfreeze the funds, 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.

(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.)