Israel freezes $193m to Palestinians over ‘martyr’ cash

Israel will withhold more than $US138 million ($193m) from the Palestinian Authority because of payments given to families of “martyrs” who attacked against Israelis.

The security cabinet said late on Sunday it was implementing a law passed last year allowing Israel to withhold funds used to pay stipends to Palestinian attackers and their families from taxes Israel collects on the behalf of the PA.

Nabil Abu Rdeineh, a spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, said that Israel’s action was “a unilateral blow” to bilateral agreements, and that any deduction of taxes by Israel was “piracy of the Palestinian people’s money”. Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah called Israel’s action “open war against the Palestinian people” and an attempt to destroy the PA.

Read the report in The Australian (AP).