UNITED STATES, WASHINGTON (VOP TODAY NEWS) — The Palestinian Authority on Thursday recovered two billion shekels (512 million euros) in tax revenues from Israel, Palestinian civil affairs minister Hussein al-Sheikh said.
“We have received the money that has been transferred today,” Sheikh told AFP.
“Today, an agreement was reached with the Israeli side several days ago to transfer the money of petrol and fuel taxes purchased by the Palestinian Authority from Israel, estimated at about two billion shekels,” he added.
The money is part of the tax revenues Israel has withheld since February, on the grounds that it is being paid to families of Palestinians accused of attacks against Israel and its captives.
Fuel taxes are called bluegrass because of the color of the fuel.
An economist said that Israel exports fuel to the West Bank, dyed blue, where it is sold at lower prices, thus preventing its use within its borders.
“Israel was taking the price of fuel with the blueprint tax and the PA returned it two months later and it was worth about 220 million shekels a month (about 63 million dollars),” Sheikh said.
He stressed “the recovery of these funds retroactively, ie since the beginning of the financial crisis between the Authority and Israel.”
The PA’s financial crisis began since Israel decided to deduct the tax money it collects in its favor, and the PA refused in return to receive any incomplete funds.
Israel collects about $ 190 million a month in tax revenues on trade that passes through Israeli ports and crossings.
Al-Sheikh pointed out that the negotiations attended by “representatives of the Palestinian Ministry of Finance, the Minister of Finance and the Israeli Coordinator and representatives of the Israeli Ministry of Defense were” a bilateral that did not interfere with any international or regional.
According to Sheikh, “the recovery of these funds will solve part of the financial crisis that resulted from the detention of Palestinian funds.”
“We want the money transfer mechanism to be scrutinized by the Palestinian side on any discounts that Israel considers to be debts,” he said.
“Israel is still holding and refusing to transfer more than one billion dollars to the Palestinian Authority,” Sheikh said.
He explained that “this agreement will certainly be a gateway to resolve the remaining outstanding financial and economic issues and not political with Israel.”
President Mahmoud Abbas has repeatedly said that “our position is the same and we will not accept receiving money from Israel.”
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