A Foreign Office minister has said that Palestinian Authority payments made to convicted terrorists is “no justification” for Israel withholding tax revenues.
Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon made the comment while answering questions in the House of Lords this week, after he was asked by Baroness Tonge whether Israel’s decision were in contravention of the Paris Protocols.
It follows a decision by Israeli leaders last month to withhold about £100 million in Palestinian taxes, roughly equivalent to the amount that Israeli defence officials believe the PA pays the families of convicted terrorists.
Ahmad said the UK was concerned about the impact of Israel’s decision because it “will have significant consequences for stability and security, and will impact the humanitarian and economic situation for ordinary Palestinians”.
He added: “We expect economic and fiscal agreements between Israel and the PA to continue to be fully implemented, including Israel’s obligations under the Oslo Accords and Paris Protocol.
“We also remain concerned about the Palestinian system of payments to prisoners and lobby the PA on this issue, but this is not a justification for withholding agreed tax revenues.”
Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas called the Israeli decision “robbery” but Israel’s ambassador to the UN Danny Danon said: “No country in the world should fund despicable murderers who have killed its people.”