Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Mahmoud Abbas on Monday once again blasted the Israeli government for offsetting the tax money it collects on behalf of the PA because of the monthly financial aid it provides to families of terrorists.
Abbas noted that the steps taken by Israel are based on its claim that these funds are actually transferred to "criminals and terrorists".
He said the PA completely rejects the Israeli position and stressed, "We will never agree to a cut in money, since the 'shaheeds' (martyrs -ed.) are the most sacred thing to us, and because the wounded are the most sacred thing to us, and because the security prisoners are the most sacred thing to us, we will not give up on them."
"We will succeed and achieve an independent Palestinian state whose capital is East Jerusalem, despite all those who oppose it, and despite those who refuse to implement international legitimacy. We will never cooperate with them," Abbas concluded.
Israel in February decided to offset the PA’s payments to terrorists from the tax money it collects on behalf of the PA. The decision meant it would withhold around $10 million per month from revenues of some $190 million per month it collects on the PA's behalf.
Abbas later reiterated that he would not accept partial payment of tax transfers owed by Israel and also stressed that he would not end the financial support for the families of terrorists imprisoned or eliminated by Israel.
Since that time, Israel attempted several times to transfer funds to the PA, which refused the money each time.
Last month, however, the PA accepted a partial payment of just over half a billion dollars from Israel.