Baby it’s cold outside
Israel is freezing the transfer of all tax and customs revenues that it collects on behalf of the Palestinian Authority, saying it fears the money could be used by the Islamist Hamas group to fund attacks on Israel. The latest monthly tranche, which the Palestinians say is worth about Shk360m ($106m), was due in the coming days.
The move comes after Hamas and Fatah, the two main Palestinian factions, revealed a plan to form a unity government and end almost four years of bloody rivalry. Set to be signed in Cairo this week, the deal seeks to strengthen the Palestinian national movement by ending the political and territorial divide between the Gaza Strip, ruled by Hamas, and the West Bank, where the Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority still holds sway.
Israel, however, has voiced sharp criticism of the reconciliation effort, arguing that it could lead to a Hamas takeover of the West Bank and so threaten Israel’s security. The decision to withhold funding to the PA marks the first concrete step by Israel to undermine the Palestinian unity drive – and appears to mark the beginning of a more confrontational Israeli approach towards the PA and Mahmoud Abbas, the veteran Palestinian president. source -Financial Times