Israel to continue withholding P.A. tax funds

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his inner Cabinet of eight ministers decided to continue a freeze on transferring taxes collected for the Palestinian Authority.

The suspension began early this month, shortly after the Palestinians were admitted as a full member of UNESCO, the U.N.‘s scientific and cultural agency.

The suspension will continue, according to Haaretz, due to a new movement between Hamas and Fatah to form a unity government.

Israel transfers to the Palestinian Authority about $100 million in tax payments collected on the Palestinians’ behalf each month.

The defense establishment, including Minister of Defense Ehud Barak, has called for the payments to be reinstated. Israeli security services reportedly have argued that withholding the funds, which go in part to pay Palestinian police officers, could hamper security arrangements in the West Bank.

Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman are both strongly in favor of withholding the funds.