Washington, 3 Jumadil Awwal 1436/23 February 2015 (MINA) – The US Secretary of State John Kerry has criticized Israel for withholding Palestinians’ tax revenues due to their attempts to join the International Criminal Court.
In a press conference on Saturday, the top US diplomat also warned of another crisis over the economic issue.
“If the Palestinian Authority ceases, or were to cease security cooperation, or even decide to disband as a result of their economic predicament, and that could happen in the future if they don’t receive additional revenues, then we would be faced by yet another crisis,” Kerry said, Press Tv quoted by Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA) as reporting.
“We are working hard to prevent that from happening and that is why we have been reaching out to key stakeholders to express these concerns and also to try to work together to find a solution to this challenge,” he added.
In January, Israel blocked more than $100 million of tax revenues after the Palestinian Authority applied to join the International Criminal Court.
The funds are vital for running the Palestinian Authority and for paying civil servants’ salaries.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas signed a request to join the ICC after the United Nations Security Council rejected a Palestinian proposal for statehood on December 30, 2014.
The Palestinians have requested to join the Hague-based court in order to bring war crime charges against Israel.
Earlier this month, Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat announced that the decision to become a member of the ICC cannot be revoked.
He also warned that the PA would review its political and security ties with Tel Aviv if Israel continues its policy of settlement expansion and withholding the Palestinian tax money.
Erekat said that a high-profile meeting is scheduled to be held later in February to decide on the future of ties with Israel. (T/P002/R03)
Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)