Erekat Slams Israeli Sanctions as 'Theft'

Chief PA negotiator lashes out at Israel’s decision to freeze the transfer of taxes it collects for the PA.

Elad Benari ,

Saeb Erekat
Saeb Erekat
Flash 90

Saeb Erekat, the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) chief negotiator, lashed out on Thursday at Israel’s latest sanctions against the PA, branding it a "theft."

Earlier Thursday, an Israeli official said that Israel has enacted an additional sanction against the PA, by freezing the transfer of taxes Israel collects for the PA.

Further, the official noted that Israel is suspending participation with the PA to develop a gas field in the sea off of Hamas-controlled Gaza, and putting a cap on PA deposits in Israeli banks.

The sanctions are an Israeli response to the PA’s requests to join international conventions, in a direct breach of the conditions of the peace talks in Israel.

Speaking to AFP, Erekat called the sanctions an act of “Israeli hijacking and the theft of the Palestinian people's money,” adding the decision was a “violation of international law and norms by Israel.”

Israel’s action on Thursday came one day after Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu gave instructions to government ministries forbidding meetings with PA officials, and halting all civilian and economic cooperation with the PA. Only Defense Ministry communications and the peace talks were not cancelled.

The first round of sanctions came a week ago, when Israel froze the implementation of 3G cellular technology in PA-assigned areas and stopped the transfer into Gaza of communications equipment belonging to the PA cellular phone company.

Another punitive measure taken last week was a freeze on promotion master plans for new communities in Area C.