Palestinian Authority (PA) cabinet leader Rami Hamdallah on Thursday called on the international community, particularly the European Union (EU), to pressure Israel to stop deducting funds from the tax revenues it collects on behalf of the PA, the Ma’an news agency reported.
Israel's security cabinet recently approved the freezing of 507,697,000 shekels ($140,350,300) from the tax money it collects on behalf of the PA over the PA’s payments to terrorists who carried out attacks against Israelis and their families.
During a meeting Thursday with Susanna Terstal, the EU Special Representative for the Middle East Peace Process, Hamdallah said the tax revenues are “Palestinian money collected by Israel on our behalf.”
On Wednesday Hamdallah confirmed the PA had returned the tax revenues to Israel after it deducted 41 million shekels from them.
PA officials have remained defiant and have made clear that the PA will never cease paying terrorists' salaries, despite calls by Israel and the US to stop doing so.
PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas has in the past called the PA's continued payments to terrorists a "red line" that would not be halted under any circumstances.
Hamdallah also told the EU representative at Thursday’s meeting that it is necessary for the EU to recognize “Palestine” as a state and to push the peace process forward as demanded by Abbas at the Arab-European Summit recently held in the Egyptian city of Sharm el-Sheikh.
Hamdallah also praised the ongoing European support for “Palestine” and said that even though many countries have reduced or stopped their aid to “Palestine”, the EU’s support has increased both financially and politically.