Shtayyeh: donors must pressure Israel to stop tax deductions

The Palestinian Authority will ask donor countries meeting in Norway on Tuesday to pressure Israel to stop deducting money from the tax revenue it collects on behalf of the Palestinians, Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh said on Monday. .

Shtayyeh was referring to Israel’s policy of deducting hundreds of millions of shekels from the tax revenue it collects on behalf of the Palestinian Authority on Palestinian imports and exports.

The deductions are equivalent to the stipends the Palestinian Authority pays each month to the families of Palestinians killed or imprisoned by Israel for carrying out terrorist attacks against Israelis.

Shtayyeh’s announcement came on the eve of the meeting in Norway of the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee of donor countries to the Palestinian Authority.

“Tomorrow I will begin a visit to Norway, where I will participate in a meeting of donor countries and hold meetings with the Norwegian government,” he said. “The time of the visit is extremely important because it comes at a time when we are witnessing a difficult economic situation. We will ask friendly countries to pressure Israel to stop the deduction of Palestinian tax revenue and increase its financial aid so that we can meet our obligations. “

Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh refuses to acknowledge that Arab states have the right to defend their vital interests. (credit: ALAA BADARNEH / POOL VIA REUTERS)

Shtayyeh spoke during the weekly Palestinian Authority cabinet meeting, which was held in the city of A-Ram, north of Jerusalem.

Located in Area B of the West Bank, A-Ram is not included within the boundaries of the Jerusalem Municipality, although most of its residents have ID cards issued by Israel in their capacity as permanent residents of the city.

The Palestinian Authority’s “Jerusalem Governorate”, located in A-Ram, is prohibited from operating in the Arab neighborhoods of Jerusalem that are under Israeli sovereignty.

The governorate consists of two sub-districts: Jerusalem 1, which includes all Arab neighborhoods under Israeli sovereignty, and Jerusalem 2, which consists of more than 20 West Bank towns and cities surrounding Jerusalem, such as Abu Dis, Al-Eizariya, A -Ram, Qalandiya and Hizma.

The Palestinian Authority Governor of Jerusalem Adnan Gheith was unable to attend the cabinet meeting due to restrictions imposed by the Israeli authorities, including a ban on entering the West Bank.

“We are meeting on the outskirts of our eternal capital, Jerusalem,” Shtayyeh said during the meeting, which was devoted to discussing ways to support the residents of the Jerusalem governorate.

Shtayyeh accused Israel of working to change Jerusalem’s identity through “annexation, ethnic cleansing and racism.”

Promising to provide all forms of support to Jerusalem, Shtayyeh stressed that the Palestinians will not “give up an inch of our Arab land and city.”

The Palestinian Authority cabinet, he said, will discuss the Jerusalem label as a priority development area.

“We will allocate a certain percentage of the Arab funds to strengthen the firmness of the Jerusalem residents,” Shtayyeh said.

Additionally, the cabinet discussed ways to support Arab merchants in Jerusalem’s Old City, especially souvenir shop owners whose businesses were closed following the coronavirus outbreak, he said.

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