RAMALLAH, West Bank — The Palestinian government is refusing to accept the first 2019 monthly tax transfer from Israel. Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah said in a Feb. 27 press statement that the Palestinian Authority (PA) decided earlier that month to return the money from Israel because it was only a partial payment, as the latter deducted 41 million shekels ($11.3 million).
The money in question consists of some of the taxes Israel collects on behalf of Palestinians on goods entering the territories from or through Israel. Israel intends to annually withhold more than half a billion shekels — the amount the PA paid in 2018 to the families of Palestinians imprisoned, injured or killed while fighting Israel. Israel considers those recipients terrorists and says the payments support and encourage attacks.