[JURIST] The Israeli government on Sunday unanimously rejected the recent UN General Assembly [official website] resolution [text] upgrading Palestine’s UN status to non-member observer state. In response to the UN action Israel passed its own domestic resolution that rejects the General Assembly’s decision entirely [Jerusalem Post report] and claims it has no effect on Israeli citizen’s rights to disputed territory. The Israeli resolution also states that Israel will not allow the UN resolution to affect future negotiations and peace talks. Israeli Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz further announced [Al Jazeera report] that the Israeli government will not transfer taxes collected on behalf of the Palestinian Authority (PA) to the PA, and will instead use those revenues to off-set the debt of Palestinian companies for electrical usage. The funds are customs duties levied on Palestinian goods that come through Israeli ports, amounting to tens of millions of dollars transferred to the PA every month. The amount of taxes currently being withheld by Isreal is estimated to be $120 million.
Tensions have increased between Israel and Palestine recently. Last week Israel decided to build 3,000 new housing units in the West Bank [Jerusalem Post report] in response to the UN vote on Thursday recognizing Palestinian statehood [JURIST report]. Earlier last month, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay [official profile] pressured Israel to avoid strikes on civilian structures [JURIST report] in Gaza. This came only several days after Pillay called for official peace talks between the two sides [JURIST report]. In August, Amnesty International [advocacy website] called on Israel [JURIST report] to investigate its treatment of Palestinian detainees, alleging that two had been mistreated.