Robbing palestinians while putting them on a forced 'Diet'

Amira Hass on what it means ''putting palestinians on a diet'' as advocated by the present Israeli governement and told to the press by Dov Weisglass with general hilarity.

''...These are tax revenues that are due to the people in the territories where the goods are headed, and the Israelis have no right to hold them up.Since 1994, these revenues, transferred each month from the Israeli Ministry of Finance, have made up a critical portion of the Palestinian Authority budget.
When Israel briefly stopped transferring the revenues in 2001, pressure from the EU and other countries — including the U.S. — forced Israel to reverse its decision. Unfortunately, after the Hamas victory, such pressure seems unlikely.
Last year, the $711 million constituted almost two-thirds of the Palestinian Authority's revenues. (Only $383 million was collected in income and sales taxes within the West Bank and Gaza.) Even with all those revenues, there was still an $800-million shortfall in the Authority's $1.9-billion budget. Why are domestic tax receipts so low? Because the economy is in constant recession and "operates well below its potential," according to the World Bank.
What debilitates and cripples the Palestinian economy is Israel's heavy, systematic restrictions on movement within the occupied territories — hundreds of roadblocks and military checkpoints that delay, prolong and sabotage normal economic activity and, hence, potential tax revenues.
The Palestinian Authority cannot compensate for the "lost" — or perhaps it would be more accurate to say "stolen" — tax revenues. Its Ministry of Health, for example, has been unable to pay its contractors for hospital food, equipment or medicine for three months, and is $22 million in debt. Now, with Israel hijacking an additional $50 million or so each month, the ministry will not be able to pay the salaries of its 13,000 employees. The same is true with the approximately 40,000 employees of the Ministry of Education.
In the Palestinian territories, 35% of residents between the ages of 20 and 24 were unemployed during the third quarter of 2005. About 43% live below the World Bank's poverty line, and 15% live in deep poverty — which means, according to the World Bank, that they are unable to meet subsistence needs. By taking their meager — but undoubtedly their own — revenues, Israel does not punish Hamas or persuade it to change its positions. It simply gives the Palestinians another reason to regard Israel as an aggressive and repressive occupying power. ''

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Since March 29th 2006