Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas will refuse Israeli tax transfers

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas gestures during a leadership meeting in Ramallah, in the Israeli-occupied West Bank February 20, 2019. (Reuters)
Updated 20 February 2019

Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas will refuse Israeli tax transfers

RAMALLAH, West Bank: Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas says he will not accept a monthly tax transfer from Israel if it carries out its decision to deduct amounts the Palestinians pay to the families of prisoners and people killed in fighting with Israel.
Abbas on Wednesday accused Israel of trying to put political pressure on him and violating longstanding economic agreements.
He said it would be the “final nail in the coffin” of those agreements and said he would not accept the funds if even “one penny” is deducted.
The monthly tax transfers cover about two-thirds of the Palestinian budget.
Without those funds, Abbas’ autonomy government will fall into a crisis and not be able to pay full salaries to its tens of thousands of employees.


US targets five Iranian officials for blocking election candidates

Updated 20 February 2020

US targets five Iranian officials for blocking election candidates

WASHINGTON: The United States on Thursday slapped sanctions on five Iranian officials in charge of vetting candidates for this week's parliamentary elections, in which thousands have been barred from running.
The targeted officials include Ahmad Jannati, a powerful cleric accused of overseeing the disqualification of candidates as part of the Guardian Council. The ultra-conservative also plays a key role in a body that selects the regime's supreme leader.
"The Trump Administration will not tolerate the manipulation of elections to favor the regime's malign agenda, and this action exposes those senior regime officials responsible for preventing the Iranian people from freely choosing their leaders," Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement.