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Israel Seizes $120m in Palestinian Funds Over UN Vote

Israel continues to respond with 'war, occupation and settlements'

Common Dreams staff

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends the weekly cabinet meeting in his Jerusalem office, Sunday, Dec. 2, 2012. (AP Photo/Lior Mizrahi, Pool)

Israel has seized over $120 million in tax revenues it collects for the Palestinian Authority in a second attempt to punish Palestine for its successful bid for observer status at the UN, which resulted in an overwhelming yes vote at the UN general assembly Thursday.

Directly following Friday's vote, which showed Israel and the US as the dominant opponents of a Palestinian state, Israel announced expansive settlement expansion plans in the West Bank of up to 3,000 new homes in settlements across the pre-1967 Green Line. An Israeli official admitted that the two actions were in direct response to the UN vote, the Guardian reports, and that they may withhold tax revenue from the PA again next month depending "on what the Palestinians do or don't do."

Yasser Abed Rabbo, a senior Palestinian official, said Israel was guilty of "piracy and theft" in not handing over the funds.

Meanwhile, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas returned home Sunday to a large crowd and cheers of approval in Ramallah.

"We now have a state," he said as the crowd roared. "The world has said loudly, 'Yes to the state of Palestine.'"

Abbas then warned of Israel's "creative punishments":

"We have to realize that your victory has provoked the powers of war, occupation and settlements because their isolation is deepened."

Netanyahu confirmed to his Cabinet Sunday:

"Today we are building and we will continue to build in Jerusalem and in all areas that appear on Israel's map of strategic interests."

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