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Israel Withholds Palestinian Tax Revenues Following ICC Membership Bid

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Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanayhu reportedly decided to halt a monthly transfer of tax revenues to the Palestinian authorities after President Mahmoud Abbas signed a request to join the International Criminal Court.

MOSCOW, January 3 (Sputnik) – Israel allegedly decided to freeze a monthly transfer of tax revenues to the Palestinian authorities after Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas signed a request to join the International Criminal Court, Reuters reports, citing an Israeli official.

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The monthly tax revenues amount to approximately $125 million. Palestinians use the funds to run their government and pay salaries to those employed in the public sector. Israel collects customs duties and taxes on behalf of the Palestinian authorities under the 1993 agreements, known as the Oslo Accords, according to the Jerusalem Post.

Israel repeatedly halted transfer of monthly revenues as sanctions against Palestine at times of heightened security and diplomatic tensions, according to Reuters.

On Wednesday, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas signed a request to join the ICC an approximately 20 other international organizations, after UN Security Council failed to pass the resolution on the creation of an independent Palestinian state. The Palestinian ICC membership bid is an attempt to continue to seek the adoption of a UN Security Council resolution on ending the occupation of the Palestinian territories by Israel. Abbas also said that he is going to use the ICC membership to sue Israeli politicians and military.

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Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanayhu referred to the Palestinian ICC bid as a "hypocritical request", urging the International Criminal Court to reject it.

On Tuesday, the UN Security Council rejected the Palestinian statehood resolution, with eight nations, including Russia, supporting the document, the United States and Australia voting against it and five countries abstaining. The failed resolution stipulated the creation of a Palestinian state in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, occupied by Israel in 1967, with Tel Aviv withdrawing all of its forces by the end of 2017.

The UN regulations state that, in order to be adopted, a document must be supported by at least nine nations, with all five permanent representatives of the UN Security Council (China, France, Russia, the United States and the United Kingdom) voting in favor.

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