JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel froze some $125 million in Palestinian tax revenue in response to the Palestinian Authority’s request to join the International Criminal Court.
The move over the weekend followed the P.A.’s request on Friday to join the court as well nearly 20 other international treaties and conventions.
The tax money, which is used to pay public sector employees, was to have been transferred to the Palestinian Authority on Friday. Israel has frozen P.A. tax revenues before as a retaliatory measure.
On Sunday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel “will not sit idly by” in the wake of Palestinian efforts to join the ICC.
“The Palestinian Authority has chosen confrontation with Israel,” Netanyahu said at the start of the weekly Cabinet meeting.
“We will not allow IDF soldiers and commanders to be hauled before the International Criminal Court in The Hague. It is the Palestinian Authority leaders, who have allied with the war criminals of Hamas, who must be called to account.”
The P.A.’s requests were signed by President Mahmoud Abbas earlier in the week after the United Nations Security Council failed to pass a Palestinian statehood proposal.
Israel also is looking to take Abbas and other Palestinian officials to court in the United States and other countries to be tried for war crimes, according to reports citing unnamed Israeli officials.