Israel unfreezes Palestinian tax revenues

Cnaan Liphshiz

(JTA) — Israel will release Palestinian tax revenues that it froze almost three months ago, the office of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement.

The revenues, hundreds of millions of dollars that Israel collected on behalf of the Palestinian Authority as part of a standing arrangement established under the 1993 Oslo Accords, have been withheld for the past four months following the authority’s application to join the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

The criminal court membership, which may allow Ramallah to expose Israel to a war crimes charges, is expected to come into effect on April 1.

Netanyahu “approved the recommendation of Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon, the Israel Defense Forces and the Israel Securities Authority to transfer to the Palestinian Authority tax revenues that have accrued in recent months,” the Prime Minister’s Office wrote in a statement Friday.

In January, U.S. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters that Washington opposed the freeze.

“We conveyed to the Israelis that freezing the tax revenues is an action that raises tensions,” she said. “We oppose any actions that raise tensions, and we call on both sides to avoid it.”