On Sunday, February 17, the Israeli government took the unlawful decision of stealing -once again- Palestinian tax revenues. The money in question is Palestinian tax and customs money that accounts for nearly 70% of all government income. Israel collects this money on behalf of the Palestinian government in exchange for an exorbitant fee.
on behalf of the PLO Executive Committee, Dr. Hanan Ashrawi issued a statement saying that this unlawful decision that once again confirms Israel’s habitual theft of Palestinian land, resources and funds.
“Israel has committed this act of piracy repeatedly, illegally withholding or confiscating Palestinian tax revenues as a form of shameless political extortion. Recent examples of this piracy include “punishing” the Palestinian leadership for upgrading the status of Palestine at the United Nations, acceding to the Rome Statute, and holding free and democratic elections with an outcome Israel rejected. Every time Israel undertook this illegal act, it falsely claimed to have a legitimate reason,” Ashrawi said.
Ashrawi added that the Israeli government is taking this malicious measure against the Palestinian leadership, and by extension hundreds of thousands of families, to score cheap political points in a nasty election season. “Candidates, including members of the Israeli Cabinet, are competing on who can exercise the highest level of cruelty against Palestinians in a clear expression of the racism and hatred that characterizes Israeli politics.”
“Leading up to this heist, Israel has led a venomous incitement campaign against the Palestinian leadership, as well as thousands of Palestinian political prisoners, illegally held inside Israel. It has systematically demonized and dehumanized all Palestinian political prisoners to justify its crime,” she added.
Ashrawi stressed that Palestinians must not lose sight of the facts. Israel is a serial violator of Palestinian human rights, employing torture, including prolonged solitary confinement of Palestinian child detainees, medical negligence, and other serious violations of international humanitarian law.
“To maintain its illegal regime of colonial occupation, Israel has detained and imprisoned hundreds of thousands of Palestinians, including children, elected representatives, journalists, and human rights defenders since 1967. To that end, it has created a military court system designed to enact injustice on Palestinians, including the world’s only military juvenile courts. Today, Israel is punishing the Palestinian government for exercising its responsibilities to provide social assistance to thousands of families permanently scarred by its illegal policy of mass incarceration and unchecked violence against Palestinians. It is morally reprehensible and politically callous.
“By giving itself license to confiscate Palestinian revenues, Israel is committing yet another act of illegality and economic aggression. Palestine will not submit to political and financial extortion and will continue to seek accountability for Israeli crimes,” Ashrawi concluded.