Jerusalem (AP) – Israel plans to deduct from the fiscal funds it collects for the Palestinians the amount needed to compensate Israelis living near the Gaza Strip who have been the victims of a fire wave.
Israel has been fighting fires caused by comets rigged with incendiary devices or attached to burning rags thrown by Palestinians in Gaza that have damaged forests and burned agricultural fields. The fires have disrupted daily life in communities near the Gaza Strip.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tweeted on Sunday he had asked for the deduction.
Comets have been flown by Gazans who have organized weekly protests since the end of March during which more than 115 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli army fire.
The protests, led by the Islamic militant Hamas that governs Gaza, are aimed at opposing an 11-year Israeli-Egyptian blockade on the small coastal strip that was imposed when Hamas took Gaza from Palestinian-backed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas .
The Palestinian Authority criticized the measure saying it would violate previous agreements signed with Israel and called it "cowardly theft and aggression" against the Palestinians.
Israel collects some taxes and customs on behalf of the Palestinians, which it transfers monthly. Previously, he had threatened to withhold the money from the tax on the Palestinian actions to which he was opposed.
The statement from Netanyahu's office on Sunday did not reveal how much would be deducted. Amir Dan, an official with the Israeli tax authority, told Israeli Army Radio that the damage to agriculture was only 5 million shekels ($ 1.4 million) and that damage to natural reserves and other lands could be raise the figure.