LONDON (Reuters) – US Secretary of State John Kerry on Saturday expressed concern about the viability of the Palestinian Authority if it does not soon receive tax revenue which has been withheld by Israel.
The United States raised concerns with the Israelis about its decision to freeze the transfer of more than $100 million in tax revenue, warning it could further raise tensions.
The tax revenue is critical to running the Authority, which exercises limited self-rule, and for paying public sector salaries. In December 2012, Israel froze revenue transfers for three months in response to the Palestinians’ launch of a campaign for recognition of statehood at the United Nations.
The issue of funding for the aid-dependent Palestinians was raised between Kerry and British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond in London. Kerry warned of a another crisis in the region if the Palestinians did not receive funding.
“If the Palestinian Authority ceases, or were to cease security cooperation, or even decide to disband as a result of their economic predicament, and that could happen in the future if they don’t receive additional revenues, then we would be faced by yet another crisis,” Kerry told a news conference.