Netanyahu resumes tax transfer to Palestinians

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

( Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has instructed Finance Minister Yair Lapid to resume monthly tax transfers to the Palestinian Authority (PA) ahead of Passover, the Associated Press reported.

The resumption of tax transfers comes just days after President Barack Obama met with Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas.

The release of taxes may also coincide with a push to resume peace negotiations. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has been touring the Middle East as well. Kerry met with Netanyahu and Abbas following Obama’s departure.

Yet wide gaps remain between Israel and the Palestinians. The Palestinians insist that Israel must freeze all Jewish construction in land that it acquired during the 1967 Six Day War before negotiations can resume. Israel has rejected these preconditions for talks.

Last week during his visit, Obama urged the Palestinians to drop such preconditions.

“If the expectation is that we can only have direct negotiations when everything is settled ahead of time then there’s no point in negotiations,” Obama said during a news conference last week in Ramallah.

Israel collects taxes on behalf of the PA as part of the Oslo Accords. Israel suspended the tax transfers late last year after the United Nations vote to upgrade the Palestinians’ status, which Israel and the U.S. objected to. Since then, tax transfers have been made on a month-to-month basis, pending reviews.

Posted on March 25, 2013 .