Israel’s Retaliatory Seizure of Tax: A War Crime to Punish Palestinian ICC Membership

A new report - titled "The Unlawful Seizure of Palestinian Taxes: Israel's Collective Punishment of a People" and released by Al-Haq on the day that Palestine becomes a member of the ICC - documents the results of Israel's withholding of taxes paid by Palestinian individuals and businesses over three consecutive months and which should have been transferred to the Palestinian Authority (PA). The tax payments were seized by Israel in response to Palestine's accession to the ICC Statute in late December 2014 and amount to nearly three quarters of PA revenue for the period January to March 2015. This has lead to massive cuts to public sector salaries which have hit ordinary Palestinian families across the territory hard.

Al-Haq's report – which also analyses the seizure of taxes from December 2012 to February 2013 in response to Palestine seeking recognition as a State at the UN – demonstrates that these acts constitute both extensive appropriation of property carried out unlawfully and wantonly, a grave breach of the fourth Geneva Convention prosecutable at the ICC, and collective punishment, a war crime under customary international law.

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