Israel urged to release tax revenues to Palestinian Authority

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Palestinian workers. Photo: IRIN/Erica Silverman

Israel has been urged once again to reverse its decision to withhold the transfer of revenues it collects on behalf of the Palestinian Authority.

The call was made by the UN Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, during his briefing to the Security Council on Wednesday.

Jeffrey Feltman warned that the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians continues to threaten further escalation.

Stephanie Castro reports.

In his briefing Jeffrey Feltman told the Security Council that the Palestinians are facing acute fiscal challenges that must be urgently addressed.

On 4 of February the Israeli Government announced that, for the second month, it would withhold the transfer of tax revenues it collects on behalf of the Palestinian Authority.

The action, which brings the total withheld to over U$200 million, is in retaliation for the Palestinian accession to the International Criminal Court, Mr Feltman added.

He said as a stop-gap measure, the Palestinian Authority has since borrowed funds from private banks to pay a portion of salaries of its civil servants.

Mr Feltman also pointed out that the Palestinian economic activity contracted in 2014 for the first time since 2006.

"Paralyzing the Palestinian Authority from conducting essential Government business, including functions related to health services and law and order, is in no one's interest. Israel's action is a violation of its obligations under the Paris Protocol of the Oslo Accords and we, again, call for an immediate reversal of this decision." (20")

Meanwhile, the UN Secretary-General has reiterated his call on Palestinians and Israelis to refrain from taking unilateral steps or actions that may further aggravate the current situation.

Stephanie Castro , United Nations

Duration: 1’19″

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