The Israeli Security Cabinet approved the withholding of $43 million of tax funds from Palestinians, claiming the money has been used to promote violence, local media reported Sunday.
Defense Minister Naftali Bennett had made the proposal. Israel claims that Palestinians have used such funds to pay the families of Palestinians who have been jailed or killed as a result of attacking Israel. However, Palestinians say the funds are needed to help families affected by violence and the Israeli occupation.
Palestinian official Hanan Ashrawi condemned the move, calling it a “blatant act of theft and political extortion.”
Israel is the world’s only Jewish state, located just east of the Mediterranean Sea. Palestinians, the Arab population that hails from the land Israel now controls, refer to the territory as Palestine, and want to establish a state by that name on all or part of the same land. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is over who gets what land and how it’s controlled.
Despite a long-term peace process and the general reconciliation of Israel with Egypt and Jordan, Israelis and Palestinians have failed to reach a final peace agreement. The key issues are: mutual recognition, borders, security, water rights, control of Jerusalem, Israeli settlements, Palestinian freedom of movement and Palestinian right of return.
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