World Bulletin / News Desk
A new, potential uptick in tensions between Israelis and Palestinians may have irreversible consequences for both parties and the prospects of peace, a senior UN official said Wednesday.
UN Under-Secretary for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman told the Security Council that already existing divisions between the two sides, as well as the economic problems encountered by the Palestinians have threatened further escalation.
"The Palestinians are facing acute fiscal challenges that must be urgently addressed," he said, urging Israel to reverse its decision to withhold the transfer of tax revenues it collects on behalf of Palestinians.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Feb. 4 ordered relevant authorities not to transfer tax revenues to the Palestinian Authority, or PA, for the second month in a row in response to the PA’s accession to the International Criminal Court.
"Paralyzing the Palestinian Authority from conducting essential government business – including functions related to health services and law and order – is in no one’s interest," Feltman said.
He said Israel’s action was a violation of its obligations under the Paris Protocol of the Oslo Accords – a 1994 deal that formed the basis of economic relations between the two parties.
The amount of tax revenues currently frozen by Israel stands at approximately $200 million, Feltman said.
The situation in Gaza remained increasingly worrisome with a fragile security situation, volatile political dynamics and slow pace of reconstruction, he said.
"The combination of the failure to rectify the persistent governance and security issues and the slow pace of reconstruction has created an increasingly toxic environment," he said, urging global donors to honor funding commitments made in response to the devastation suffered in the Gaza Strip during Israel's Operation Protective Edge last summer.
The 51-day Gaza conflict that ended with a truce Aug. 26, killed more than 2,100 Palestinians, mostly civilians, according to the UN.
The Israeli assault left 15,671 housing units damaged, including 2,276 that were completely destroyed, according to official Palestinian figures.
Last Mod: 18 Şubat 2015, 22:57