UN Urges Israel to Free Palestine Funds

The United Nations has called on the Israeli regime to immediately release Palestinian tax collections and stop its illegal construction activities in the occupied territories.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon "stressed the need to de-escalate" Israeli-Palestinian tensions, said his spokesman Martin Nesirky, elaborating on details of a telephone conversation between Ban and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday, AFP reported.
Israel accelerated illegal construction work in the occupied territories and froze the transfer of funds to the Palestinian Authority (PA) after the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) agreed to admit the PA as a member last month.
"The secretary general appealed to Prime Minister Netanyahu to immediately resume the transfer of Palestinian tax and customs revenues, in line with Israel’s legal obligations," said Nesirky.
Ban also reportedly expressed his deep concern about Tel Aviv’s announcement of further settlement expansions, which violate international laws.
Every month, the Israeli government collects about USD 60 million in customs duties, which are levied on goods destined for Palestinian markets that transit through Israeli ports. The funds make up a large percentage of the PA budget.
The PA says it pays more than USD 200 million every month only in salaries and financial assistance to the neediest Palestinian families.
Over the past months, the Tel Aviv regime has announced plans to expand illegal settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories on several occasions.
In September 2011, the European Union censured Tel Aviv for its illegal construction activities in the occupied territories.
(Press TV)

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