January 30, 2013 - 1:00am

The Palestinian National Authority (PNA) on Wednesday criticized Israel's decision to release only parts of withheld Palestinian tax revenues.

"The decision is incomplete because it only transfers the funds of one month out of four," said an official from Palestinian Ministry of Finance, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The official added that the released amount, estimated around 100 million U.S. dollars, would help ease the PNA's financial crisis, which deepened in the past two years due to a drop in international aid.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered the release of parts of the funds after Monday meeting with Tony Blair, the representative of the Middle East peacemakers, which comprised the United Nations, the European Union, Russia and the United States.

Israel has withheld the revenues collected from Palestinian imports on behalf of the PNA following its successful bid to upgrade its status to a non-member observer state in the United Nations in November.

These revenues make two-thirds of the PNA's income. The withholding made the PNA unable to pay regular full salaries to its 150,000 employees.

Israel said releasing the money was only one-time measure that doesn't reflect a reverse of the earlier decision to withhold them.

Jawad Naji, the Palestinian minister of economy, threatened to sue Israel, describing the withholding of the money as "piracy."


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