The Palestinian Authority (PA) has refused to accept the tax revenues collected by Israel on its behalf, in retaliation for Israel’s deduction of prisoner stipends.

Senior Fatah official Hussein Al-Sheikh told Al-Wattan Voice that the decision was taken by Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas, stressing that Abbas pledged not to receive the tax revenues “if one penny was deducted from them”.

Al-Sheikh added that the move was a response to Israel’s decision to deduct the salaries paid to the families of Palestinians killed, wounded or arrested by Israel, sometimes known pejoratively as “martyr payments”. Al-Sheikh blamed the US for the Israeli measure, revealing that international financial institutions and banks have begun imposing a financial siege on the PA at the US’ request.

Stating just one example of US sanctions, Al-Sheikh said that although a $10 million Iraqi grant was transferred to the Arab League, the organisation could not funnel it to the PA’s accounts or the Palestinian National Fund due to the US’ orders.

“The American and Israeli decisions came as part of an attempt to bring the Palestinian leadership to its knees and push it to accept the deal of the century,” Al-Sheikh said, referring to the long-awaited US peace deal slated to be revealed in April.

The tax revenues collected by Israel comprise more than 50 per cent of the PA’s income and cover up to 70 per cent of its operational fees and the salaries of its employees.

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