The Palestinian Authority (PA) has requested the Israeli government release its revenues withheld since last year so that it can face the threat of the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Palestine’s Finance Minister Shukri Bishara met with his Israeli counterpart Moshe Kahlon and told him that the withheld revenues were the right of the Palestinian people and would help the state treasury undertake the best health measures to fight the virus.
Bishara said recovering the sum could help the treasury in adopting better health measures.
Israel withheld about $11.5 million from the Palestinian tax revenues claiming it was seizing the amount equivalent to what the Authority pays families of Palestinians killed or detained by Israel.
The meeting was held mainly to discuss the economic situation facing the two parties in light of the outbreak of the virus. There is full and high-level coordination between Israel and the Palestinian Authority in order to fight COVID-19.
Israel has helped train Palestinian doctors to tackle the virus, and sent medical supplies, while both parties continue to exchange information on the number of infected cases and their movement.
Both are trying to limit the spread of the virus, which has turned into a common enemy.
Later, Israel deducted intermittent amounts, including 13 million shekels, in response to a judicial decision to transfer 12.7 million shekels from Palestinian financial revenues to the reservations department, due to judicial cases against the Authority.
The Authority has been trying to recover the money since last year, but Israel tried to overcome the crisis by giving the Palestinians the right to import oil from Israel without tax retroactively, which the Authority agreed to and then decided to receive the tax money while stressing its right to recover the seized funds later.