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Israel to transfer funds to Palestinians

Jan. 30, 2013 at 7:14 AM

JERUSALEM, Jan. 30 (UPI) -- Israel said it will transfer $100 million in tax revenue to the Palestinian Authority that had been withheld following the upgrade of Palestinian U.N. status.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu decided Tuesday night to transfer the funds. A source close to the prime minister said it would be a one-time transfer to ease economic hardship, Israeli media reported.

Since freezing the funds in November in response to the U.N. decision to upgrade the Palestinian status, Israel used the money to pay off electricity bills owed by the Palestinian Authority, The Jerusalem Post said.

The tax revenue issue was raised in a meeting between Netanyahu and Middle East envoy Tony Blair Monday, the Post said. Israeli government sources said the move was not a confidence-building measure and future transfers would be evaluated on a monthly basis, The Post said.

In December former Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said Israel would not transfer tax revenue to the Palestinian Authority for the next four months because it owed $1.5 billion for electricity and water, and for funds advanced in the summer to pay PA salaries, the Post said.

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