Hamas: Israeli taxes went to security officials

Tuesday, March 13, 2007 |  by Staff Writer
Hamas officials said that some of Israel’s tax revenues, totaling $100 million, were given to Hamas’ security forces when the funds were transferred to the Palestinian Authority.

PA officials said the money was given to pay salaries and by Israel withholding funds, it undermines PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas’ government.

These statements were made, following Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s decision to release additional funds, which was promised to be used for humanitarian purposes.

The PA Finance Minister Samir Abu Aisheh of Hamas said more than 9,500 new employees were added to the public sector since Hamas took power a year ago. The jobs include 5,500 Hamas-appointed security officers and 3,500 workers in the Hamas-run Education and Health ministries.

Civil servant jobs account for two-thirds of PA salaries.

Most of the financial aid came from Arab and EU countries and was intended for salaries and welfare payments. However, hundreds of millions of dollars went straight into the hands of Hamas and other parties.

Bir Zeit economics professor Nasr Abdel Karim said the Palestinians received approximately $700 million from abroad, $100 million in tax rebates from Israel and another $300 million was raised from local taxes.

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