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Israel’s confiscation of Palestinian revenues

Israel’s confiscation of Palestinian revenues: a brazen violation of international law

By Rick Kelly –

Events within the Occupied Territories following Hamas’s victory in Palestinian legislative council elections last month have again demonstrated Israel’s and Washington’s blatant disregard for international law.

Israel’s confiscation of Palestinian tax and customs revenues worth an estimated $50 million a month is indicative of the illegal measures currently being implemented. The Bush administration has unambiguously backed this provocative response to the Islamists’ election win.

The seizure of the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) central source of independent revenue has left the Palestinian administration on the verge of collapse and threatens a humanitarian catastrophe in the West Bank and Gaza.

Israel’s ability to cripple Palestinian finances derives from its strict control of the West Bank and Gaza borders. Almost all of the Occupied Territories’ imports must be unloaded at Israeli sea and air ports; authorities then collect the customs duties and value-added taxes levied on the goods. Each month the PA is supposed to receive this money, minus fees deducted by Israel for electricity, water, and other utilities. The arrangement is codified in the “1994 Protocol on Economic Relations Between the Government of Israel and the PLO,” which is a supplementary agreement to the Oslo Accords.

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