In its latest bid to make life even more miserable for the people of Palestine, it has shamefully delayed the monthly transfer of taxes worth €106m that it collects on their behalf. That represents a particularly mean-spirited gesture of retaliation to Palestine’s application for membership of the International Criminal Court in The Hague (ICC).
On the face of it, the Israeli move would be similar to the European Central Bank denying loans and adopting a bullyboy attitude towards this country for some spurious reason, making our austerity even more unbearable. The big difference is that even in its darkest days, Ireland is relatively rich in comparison with the appalling plight of Palestine.
Justice demands that the people of Palestine be afforded the right to join the Rome Statute of the ICC and other global treaties. However, given its unquestioning support for Israel, despite the ‘disproportionate’ response to Hamas rockets fired from the Gaza Strip, America will probably oppose the ICC application, especially since Palestine aims to prosecute Israel for alleged war crimes committed on their territory.
The taxes are the lifeblood of the Palestinian Authority, which exercises limited self-rule there, and are used to pay the salaries of its public sector officials. Considering the crucial importance of such funds, it is hard to avoid the impression Israel is seeking the collapse of the 20-year-old authority.