The Palestinian Authority and Israel has agreed on tax revenue collection that may help alleviate the PA’s deepening debt crisis.
Reports say both parties agreed on steps that would help facilitate the movement of goods between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. The agreement also aims to reduce illegal trade and tax evasion which could increase revenue as well.
The Palestinian economy in the occupied West Bank is currently facing a worsening financial crisis due to a drop in aid from Western countries.
At DC today, Acting Deputy Spokesperson Patrick Ventrell says the United States welcomes the understanding on tax revenue collection between the Palestinian Authority and the Government of Israel.
According to Mr. Ventrell, the agreement is significant for both parties for it should facilitate the flow of goods between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, reduce smuggling, and increase tax revenues to be shared by both parties.
It should also demonstrate the very practical value of the results of talks between the two parties, Mr. Ventrell added.
He notes that even as the United States encourages the parties to return to negotiations aimed at agreement on a two-state solution as well.
Mr. Ventrell underlines that solving the financial and economic difficulties facing the Palestinian Authority and ensuring the viability of the Palestinian economy are necessary for a future Palestinian state, and are in the interests of the parties, the United States, and the entire international community.
“It is also valuable to facilitate Israeli authorities’ efforts to implement improved customs and other tax procedures.” -Mr. Ventrell
The effects of the war still persist in West Bank and Gaza and the humanitarian needs of the women, men and children of Gaza remain widespread and acute.
In 2009, Israel waged a fierce three-week military campaign in Gaza to stop rockets from being fired on its southern communities. Israel engaged a devastating air and ground campaign that left as many as 1,400 Palestinians dead by the time a cease-fire was unilaterally declared by both sides. Much of the region’s civil infrastructure and many homes were left in ruins during the three-week offensive that ended in January 2009. Thirteen Israelis were also killed.
“Lifestyle” diseases are taking an increasing toll among the Palestinians because of poverty, unemployment and budget limitations.
Sanitation and clean water services were also maintained in 2010, “notwithstanding difficulties faced in particular due to the closure regime and conflict in the occupied territories.”
The per-person budget has been roughly the same since 2008. The refugee population increased from 4.8 million in 2009 to 5 million in 2010. Almost 2 million live in the occupied Palestinian territories in the Gaza Strip and in the West Bank. The remainder are spread among Lebanon, Syria and Jordan.
To address the humanitarian needs of the Palestinians, the United Nations has launched an emergency appeal for Gaza and the West Bank worth just over 300 million US dollars.
The $300 million appeal aims to assist Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank who still in need of humanitarian assistance.
UNRWA noted that while this is a sizeable amount and reflects good progress, dozens more schools and thousands of homes still need to be built.
UNRWA is the only UN agency directly providing essential services in education, health, microfinance and social safety-net support to Palestinian refugees.