Abbas refuses tax funds released by Israel

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas refused to accept frozen tax revenues released by Israel.

Abbas said on April 5 that he would not take the funds because Israel had deducted some of the money to cover the Palestini-ans’ debts for utilities and hospital bills.

Israel collects taxes for the Palestinians and then transfers the funds to the PA. Israel withheld the collected tax revenues beginning in January after Abbas signed requests in late December to join the International Criminal Court and other international conventions after the United Nations Security Council failed to pass a Palestinian statehood proposal.

The Palestinians are believed to owe millions of dollars to Israel for utilities, as well as for visits to Israeli hospitals, Reuters reported.

“We are returning the money,” Abbas said. “Either they give it to us in full or we go to arbitration or to the [International Criminal] Court.” — jta