After Months of Withholding, Israel Releases Funds to Palestinian Authority

In a significant financial move, Israel has transferred 435 million shekels ($116 million) of withheld tax revenues to the Palestinian Authority (PA), marking the first such transfer since April, as announced by the finance ministries of both Israel and the Palestinian Authority on Wednesday.

Under a long-standing agreement, Israel collects taxes on goods transported into the West Bank through Israeli checkpoints and then disburses the funds to the PA in Ramallah. However, following the Hamas-led attack on Israel on October 7, Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich halted these transfers, citing concerns over the funds being used for purposes he opposes.

Since the attack, Smotrich has retained parts of the revenue intended for administrative expenses in Gaza and made deductions for various services, including electricity, water, and medical treatments provided to Palestinians in Israeli hospitals. Despite these withholdings, Palestinian officials have argued that the sum transferred remains substantially lower than the actual taxes collected monthly.

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