Premier Mohammad Shtayyeh Thursday pledged not to allow trading the release of Palestinian tax revenues withheld by Israel for political concessions.
“The tax revenues ]withheld by Israel[ belong to our people and are our right, but Israel wants to exchange money for politics,” Shtayyeh told UK Minister for Middle East James Cleverly during a virtual meeting.
“We will not allow exchanging the release of our funds for political and national concessions and for the resumption of coordination ]with Israel[. The question of Palestine is not that of money, but of rights, dignity and freedom,” he added.
On Wednesday, the Palestinian leadership announced that it rejected the regular transfer of its tax revenue dues from Israel for May in compliance with its decision to absolve itself of all agreements with Israel and the US.
Shtayyeh called on the UK to recognize the Palestinian state in line with the UK parliament’s motion calling for such a recognition, noting that this moment was the time for this step, given Israel’s illegal impending move to annex large swaths of the West Bank.
He warned that the Israeli annexation plans would “completely devastate the Palestinian statehood project”, while he urged the UK to set an example for other states through translating its position rejecting Israel’s annexation move into a concrete reality.
He affirmed that the Jordan Valley, a fertile strip of land running west along the Jordan River, which is home of some 65,000 Palestinians and makes up approximately 30 percent of the West Bank, has vital importance economic, tourist and historical importance and constitutes Palestine’s eastern frontier with Jordan.
Recalling the international community’s active involvement in safeguarding human rights and international law as well as its decisive role in ending the apartheid in South Africa, he called on the international community to treat Israel as it treated South Africa and actively support the efforts to end the Israeli occupation and apartheid.
“We have worked with the international community for long years to establish an independent, sovereign and geographically contiguous Palestinian state on the pre-1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital, but now this project is falling apart,” he noted.
He expressed his gratitude to UK for providing assistance to Palestine to battle the novel coronavirus pandemic and improve the health sector capacities, and called on it to contribute to the Palestinian economic recovery plan following the pandemic.
Cleverly highlighted his country’s opposition to annexation and longstanding support for the tw-state solution.