Death and taxes intertwined, Re: Israel Moves Against Palestinian Unity Deal by Delaying Funds, International Herald Tribune/New York Times, May 1, 2011

Israel has announced that it will not transfer roughly $90 million in tax revenue it collected on behalf of the Palestinian Authority until the PA could guarantee that none of the money would go to Hamas to purchase weapons which would be used to murder and maim Israelis, to rain death and destruction on the country. The chances of this happening have been raised because the Palestinian Authority and Hamas have ‘reconciled’ after years of bitter, violent internecine fighting and are in the process of forming a ‘unity’ government, although serious cracks have already appeared and it is by no means certain that the ‘accord’ will last very long.

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In any case, Hamas remains totally committed to destroying Israel and the Israelis are simply being prudent and protecting themselves in withholding the funds. If credible guarantees aren’t provided the funds won’t be turned over, nor should they be. On the other hand, if credible guarantees are provided they will be, but this is highly unlikely since the Palestinian Authority is very much the junior partner in the ‘reconciliation’ and is in no position to provide them because Hamas dominates the relationship and has made it clear that it will not change its attitude and behavior towards Israel one iota, ‘unity’ government or no ‘unity’ government.

In fact, the Palestinian Authority is going to have to change its slightly more moderate stance towards Israel to conform with Hamas if it wants to avoid being shunted aside or taken over.

In fact, Mahmoud Abbas, President of the Palestinian Authority, better watch his back and not challenge Hamas very much at all…Hamas has tried to assassinate him in the past and could very well try again if it thinks he is becoming obstreperous or is getting in its way.

Death and taxes are intertwined alright. You can be certain Hamas will see to that if it gets its hands on the money. $90 million can kill a lot of Israelis you know.

So why is Israel collecting taxes on behalf of the Palestinian Authority to begin with? Can’t it collect taxes on its own? If not why not? If not how can Palestinians possibly pronounce themselves ready for statehood as tax collecting is essential to the functioning of a modern state? What else can’t they do?

Good questions all.

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