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Halt transfer of tax revenues

Following discussions convened by PM Netanyahu, Israel plans to hold more than $127 million in funds collected on behalf of the Palestinians for the month of December.

Qalandia refugee camp near Ramallah January 1, 2015.

 

Palestinian boys carry a poster depicting PA president Abbas during a rally marking the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Fatah movement, at Qalandia refugee camp near Ramallah January 1, 2015

Israel has decided to freeze the transfer of half a billion shekels (more than $127 million) in tax revenues collected on behalf of the Palestinians following the Palestinians’ recent attempts to join the International Criminal Court, an Israeli official has told Haaretz.

“The funds for the month of December were due to pass on Friday, but it was decided to half the transfer as part of the response to the Palestinian move,” the official said.

Israel, he said, would not let the Palestinians’ actions go unanswered. “We are a law-abiding nation that actively investigates its own conduct, and we can prove that easily.”

“So in regards to the international arena, we will not only defend ourselves against the Palestinians’ actions, we will also go on the offensive. And when it comes to war crimes, we have quite a bit of ammunition – the butter is smeared all over the heads of Abbas and his friends. They chose to go out into the sun, and there will be a price for that.”

According to a Reuters report on Saturday, another official said that Israel is looking at ways to prosecute senior Palestinians for war crimes in the United States and elsewhere in response to the ICC bid.

The decision is the result of a meeting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu convened Thursday to discuss Israel’s response to the Palestinian Authority’s application to join the ICC.

The meeting, which lasted about two hours, was attended by Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, National Security Adviser Yossi Cohen, officials from the various government ministries, the Israel Defense Forces and the Shin Bet security Service. A senior source at the Prime Minister’s Office said that the relevant professionals were invited to the meeting, among them the director-general of the foreign ministry.

Netanyahu on Thursday said Israel expects the International Criminal Court in The Hague to reject the Palestinian application due to the fact that it is not a state.

In a statement at the end of a meeting concerning the Palestinian ICC bid, the prime minister said that the ICC should reject the “hypocritical application by the Palestinian Authority” out of hand “since the Palestinian Authority is not a state.”

Palestinian Ambassador to the UN Riyad Mansour submitted  the request to join 22 international treaties, including the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court at the Hague on Friday evening to the UN offices in New York. The documents were signed by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Wednesday.

The process of joining the ICC takes 90 days from the moment the documents are submitted.

Palestinian Ambassador to the United Nations Riyad Mansour, left, goes to shake hands with members after a meeting of the UN Security Council, Tuesday, Dec. 30, 2014, at the UN 

(Source / 03.01.2015)

 

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