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Tuesday, 6 January 2015

EU urges Israel, Palestine to stop aggravating tense situation

The European Union foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini said here on Tuesday recent steps taken by Palestinians and Israelis could aggravate the already tense situation on the ground and bring them further away from a negotiated solution.

The decision of the Israeli government to halt the transfer of tax revenues to the Palestinian Authority "runs counter to Israel's obligations under the Paris Protocol," Mogherini said in a statement.

An effective Palestinian Authority, committed to non-violence and a peaceful resolution of the conflict, is a key element for a two-state solution, she said, urging Israel and Palestine to refrain from taking actions that could raise obstacles to the rapid return to the negotiations.

She said the EU was providing considerable support, including financial assistance, to ensure the building of the institutions and infrastructure of a future Palestinian State. And these achievements should not be put at risk by not meeting obligations regarding the timely and transparent transfer of tax and custom revenues.

"The European Union will promote and support now more than ever efforts to achieve a lasting peace based on a two-state solution, including through the Middle East Quartet," she said.

Half a billion shekels, or about 128 million US dollars, in tax revenue that Israel collects on behalf of the Palestinian Authority for the month of December were being frozen. Israel made the decision last week to punish the Palestinians' bid to join the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Israel's collection of tax money for the Palestinian Authority was established under the 1993 Oslo Accords. The last time Israel froze the money's transfer was in April last year, following the Authority's reconciliation with Hamas and the establishment of a Palestinian unity government.

Palestinians sought to join the ICC after the UN Security Council rejected a resolution on Israel's withdrawal from the West Bank and East Jerusalem by 2017, in order for a Palestinian state to be established unilaterally.

 Source: Xinhua - globaltimes.cn
6/1/15

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