Ramallah, Jan 10 (IANS) Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammed Ishtaye has urged the Norwegian side and the international community to pressure Israel to release all unlawfully deducted amounts from the tax revenues it had collected for the Palestinian Authority (PA).
He made the remarks while receiving in Ramallah the Norwegian government’s special representative to the Middle East, Hilde Haraldstad, the Prime Minister’s Office said on Tuesday in a statement.
Ishtaye said the deduction of funds allocated to the Gaza Strip from Palestinian tax revenues is “a political decision” aimed at perpetuating attempts to separate the West Bank from Gaza, Xinhua news agency reported.
He urged donor countries to provide financial support for Palestine to help it meet its obligations.
On Monday, the Palestinian government’s Council of Ministers decided to manage public affairs as being in a state of emergency, preparing budgets and governmental activities for 2024 under these circumstances to ensure the continued provision of governmental services to citizens.
Since early November last year, the PA has refused to receive the tax revenues transferred from Israel following the latter’s announcement to proceed with a tax revenue transfer to the PA in the occupied West Bank while withholding funds bound for Hamas-ruled Gaza, where the PA helps cover public sector wages and pay for electricity.
Israel collects taxes on behalf of the PA on imports into Palestinian territories and transfers the funds monthly, averaging around $200 million.
Ishtaye’s meeting with the Norwegian envoy came one day after the Palestinian Prime Minister said the PA agreed to receive tax funds held by Israel through the transfer via Norway, while Israel rejected the proposal.
During the meeting, the two sides also discussed the developments of Israel’s strikes on Gaza and its raids in the West Bank, Palestinian official WAFA news agency reported.