U.S. Welcomes Israeli Release Of Palestinian Tax Revenue

WASHINGTON (Reuters/Hamodia) -

The U.S. welcomed Israel’s decision to release frozen tax revenue to the PA, three months after freezing the payments to protest unilateral Palestinian moves toward statehood.

“We certainly hope both sides would be able to build on this,” State Department spokesman Jeff Rathke said Friday. “We think it’s an important step.” Rathke told reporters the move will benefit the Palestinian people and said having a functioning Palestinian Authority is important to regional stability. Prime Minister Netanyahu’s office said the funds would be sent for humanitarian reasons and in line with “Israel’s interests.”

Under existing agreements, Israel collects taxes and customs on behalf of the Palestinians and then transfers the sums to them. It has withheld funds before as retaliation for unilateral Palestinian actions. Over the past three months, it has collected hundreds of millions of dollars without transferring the funds.

Later on Sunday, it was reported that the Israeli decision will be reciprocated by the Palestinian Authority:

The PA will refrain from pursuing war crimes allegations against Israel in the ICC, where it acquires formal membership April 1, and will continue its security cooperation with Israel according to The Jerusalem Post.

In addition, the ICC prosecutor will not proceed with a preliminary examination of alleged Israeli war crimes during Operation Protective Edge.