S&D MEPs call for transfer of Palestinian tax revenues and for urgent international support for UNRWA
The Socialists and Democrats Group in the European Parliament expressed its deep concern about the Israeli government withholding Palestinian tax revenues since early January and called for immediate international support for UNRWA (the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East). The president of the S&D Group, Gianni Pittella, will meet with Pierre Krähenbühl, the commissioner-general of the UNRWA, in Strasbourg next week.
S&D Group president Gianni Pittella said:
„We are deeply concerned about the Israeli government continuing to withhold Palestinian tax revenues.
„Let’s be clear: these revenues belong to the Palestinians, withholding them goes against Israel’s legal obligations under the 1994 Paris Protocol and it undermines the effective functioning of the Palestinian institutions.
„We call therefore for an immediate end to the Israeli authorities’ policy of continually using the transfer of Palestinian revenues as a political instrument aimed at punishing the Palestinians for their political choices – this time for their accession to the International Criminal Court (ICC).”
S&D Group vice-president Victor Boştinaru said:
„We also have serious concerns about the financial situation of UNRWA, which has recently been forced to suspend its cash assistance programme supporting home repairs and providing rental subsidies in Gaza. This leaves children dying of hypothermia and thousands of families suffering through this cold winter with inadequate shelter. This requires an immediate and effective international response in order to avoid a further deepening of the humanitarian crisis in the area.
„Leaving tens of thousands of Palestinian public-sector workers without a salary and thousands of families without shelter in Gaza is no way to build peace between the Israelis and Palestinians. But we also have to make sure that EU assistance cannot, under any circumstances, be diverted to terrorist organisations and activities. In this spirit, we support the Council’s recent decision to appeal the judgement of the General Court regarding the designation of Hamas as a terrorist organisation.”
Foto: United Nations