Arab Peace Initiative Discussed, Israel Withholds PA Taxes
The Arab League Ministerial Council concluded its meeting in Doha without reaching a conclusion to the Arab Peace Initiative or the reevaluation of the peace process. Qatar’s Prime Minister, Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani, said the initiative would “not be an offer forever.” However, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said “it is not permissible to talk about sidelining the Arab Peace Initiative.”
In response to Palestine’s upgraded U.N. status, Israel has refused to transfer tax revenues it collected on behalf of the Palestinian Authority last month. The money will instead by used to pay off a debt the Palestinian Authority owes the Israel Electric Corporation. Senior Palestinian official Yasser Abed Rabbo said Israel is guilty of “piracy and theft,” while leader of the Israeli Meretz party Zahava Gal-On said “the finance minister and the prime minister have overstepped their authority in a most egregious manner.”
Protesters gathered in Hebron to mourn the death of Palestinian teenager, Muhammad Ziad Awad Salaymah, who was killed by an Israeli policewoman. Officers who were present at the scene testistified that Salaymah had been carrying carrying a gun. However, it was later determined the gun was actually a toy pistol made of metal.
Human Rights Watch released a statement demanding that the Israeli military “immediately return property seized from the offices of Palestinian human rights and civil society groups in the West Bank and compensate them for damages in the absence of any lawful justification for the raids,” which occurred on December 11.