US opposes Israel's freeze on Palestinian tax revenue

The United States said on Monday it opposes a move by Israel to freeze the transfer of tax revenues to the Palestinian Authority in retaliation for its bid to join the International Criminal Court.

Washington: The United States said on Monday it opposes a move by Israel to freeze the transfer of tax revenues to the Palestinian Authority in retaliation for its bid to join the International Criminal Court.

"This step is one that raises tensions as others do," State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said.

Israel imposed the freeze in response to a bid by the Palestinian Authority to join the International Criminal Court in the Hague, and threatened further retaliatory action.

US Secretary of State John Kerry spoke with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over the weekend and a US team has been in touch with Palestinian leaders.

"What we are trying to avoid here is a back and forth tit-for-tat," Psaki said.

After the Palestinians won the upgraded UN rank of observer state in November 2012, Israel froze the tax monies and also announced plans for 3,000 homes in a highly sensitive area of the West Bank, as well as in annexed east Jerusalem, triggering a furious response from the international community.

The latest freeze involves half a billion shekels in tax revenue, or about USD 127 million.

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