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Naela Khalil

Palestinians 'reviewing bilateral relations with Israel'

Shtayyeh said the relationship established under the Oslo accords was at risk [AFP]

Date of publication: 17 February, 2015

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Palestinian officials are reportedly reviewing economic and political ties set down in Oslo agreement after Israel withholds tax revenues.

Palestinian officials in the occupied West Bank are considering a review of economic and political relationships with Israel as Tel Aviv continues withheld tax revenues, a leading Fatah figure has revealed.

Mohammad Shtayyeh, minister of the Palestinian economic council, said Israel had withheld revenue it collected from the territory in retaliation to Palestine's application to join the Hague-based International Criminal Court.

"The political aspect of the relationship with Israel has reached a deadlock," Shtayyeh said, adding that economic relations were "at risk".

"The Oslo agreement forced us to establish bilateral relations, but Israel has buried the accord and foiled any chance for peace.

"Withholding tax revenues belonging to Palestinians is another blow to our economic relations. While Israeli exports to Palestinians amount to $4.1bn, the volume of Palestinian exports to Israel is only around $350m."

Palestinian territory 'ripe for IS infiltration'

Meanwhile, a Palestinian security spokesman has claimed the popularity of the Muslim Brotherhood in the Palestinian territories could enable the rise of the Islamic State group.

Adnan al-Damiri told a news conference in Ramallah that, although the IS group "does not yet have a strong foothold in Palestinian territories", the Muslim Brotherhood could serve "as an incubator for the group".

He stated that security forces remained on "full alert".

This is an edited translation from our Arabic edition.

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