Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Trade Brendan Smith TD has called on the European Union to condemn the latest provocative move by Israel in withholding tax revenues due to the Palestinian Authorities. The Israeli Government confirmed it plans to withhold at least €106 million in tax revenue due to Palestine on January 3rd. The move appears to be a response to Palestinian attempts to join the International Criminal Court in The Hague.
Deputy Smith stated, “The latest decision by the Israeli Government to withhold tax revenue to Palestine is an outrageous act of bullying which seeks to undermine any element of self-determination the Palestinian people are entitled to. This decision further exhibits the need to create a fully independent and sovereign Palestinian state. The funds which Israel has frozen are used to pay salaries and provide basic public services to the Palestinian people. Israel is acting no better than a school yard bully in withholding these funds and is undermining its own credibility in these actions.
“Europe must raise its voice against these Israeli tactics, which serve to further undermine the prospect of a peaceful agreement in the Middle East. The EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs, Federica Mogherini must be clear in her condemnation of the withholding of the Palestinian tax revenues. The European Union has continually invested political capital and significant taxpayers’ money to consolidate peace in Israel and Palestine. The EU must be proactive in seeking to ensure that both Israeli and Palestinian authorities act in a fair and just manner towards each other.
Deputy Smith went on to criticise the statement made by the Israeli foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, who condemned European support for Palestinian actions seeking further independence.
He commented, “Minister Lieberman’s statement that Europe’s support and indeed Ireland’s support for an independent Palestine is an abandonment of Israel and the equivalent of the abandonment of Czechoslovakia in 1938 is simply not based in reality or fact. Ireland’s recognition of Palestine is not anti-Israel. Ireland already recognises the State of Israel, and recognising Palestine would help create a parity of status so desperately needed as shown by the latest Israeli actions. This has been a policy consistently followed by Fianna Fáil in government over many decades. Minister Lieberman’s statement that Europe is abandoning Israel is just not credible”.