Abbas sends angry message to Israel over deduction of funds

PA chairman sends envoy to convey anger to Netanyahu after cabinet decides to deduct 149 million shekels from PA tax revenues.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Mahmoud Abbas
Mahmoud Abbas
Reuters

Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Mahmoud Abbas sent an envoy to convey a strong message to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu after the Israeli cabinet decided to deduct 149 million shekels ($43 million) from the PA tax revenues when at the same Israel is pushing for a deal with Hamas in Gaza, Israeli officials told Channel 13 News’ Barak Ravid on Wednesday.

According to the report, the PA “minister for civilian affairs”, Hussain Al-Sheikh, on Tuesday asked for an urgent meeting with Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon, saying he needed to pass on a message from Abbas. The meeting took place the same day.

Israeli officials said Al-Sheikh told Kahlon the PA sees Israel's decision to deduct Palestinian tax revenues very seriously. Al-Sheikh reportedly told Kahlon, “You are going for a deal with Hamas but at the same time slap more sanctions on the Palestinian Authority.”

The PA official told Kahlon the PA is against violence but the Israeli decision “has stirred emotions” and the situation in PA-assigned areas of Judea and Samaria “is on the brink of an explosion”.

Kahlon on Wednesday briefed Netanyahu and the security cabinet on Abbas’ message, according to Ravid.

Israel's Security Cabinet on Sunday approved Defense Minister Naftali Bennett's proposal to cut the 149 million shekels, which is the sum that the PA paid to terrorist families last year.

The approval came despite the fact that Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) chief Nadav Argaman reportedly warned that such a move could have a negative impact on relations with the PA.

Abbas has in the past called the PA's continued payments to terrorists a "red line" that would not be halted under any circumstances.

The PA spends about six percent of its annual budget to pay $4.5 million a month to jailed terrorists and another $6.5 million to their families.



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