Israel seizing hundreds of millions of shekels meant for Palestinian services
(Haaretz) -- By Chaim Levinson --
For the past 15 years, Israel has been channeling hundreds of millions of shekels it had collected in the West Bank into its state coffers. The move is considered illegal, since international law prohibits an occupying power from appropriating the fruit of economic activity in an occupied territory.
Following protests by military lawyers, the deputy attorney general has ruled that the practice should be stopped and ordered an inquiry into whether the Civil Administration in the West Bank should be compensated retroactively...
They include fees and levies for various activities such as royalties from quarries and levies on public auctions. The sums are estimated in the hundreds of millions of shekels, sometimes reaching as much as NIS 80 million a year.
Until the Oslo Accords in the 1990s, the funds were transferred to the Civil Administration to be used for operational expenses as well as for infrastructure and welfare services for Palestinians in the territories. The Oslo Accords dictated the closing down of the administration, the funds in question were reclassified as income to the Israel Lands Administration and were redirected to state coffers.
The Civil Administration, however, continued to operate in Area C of the West Bank, working on infrastructure, planning and construction. The funds are still channeled to the state, although international law prohibits an occupying power from appropriating the fruit of economic activity in an occupied territory. Funds collected in American-occupied areas of Iraq, for example, are channeled to the United States, and, except for 5 percent that goes to Kuwait, are returned for direct investment in Iraq...MORE...LINK
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