Israel's decision to temporarily withhold money from transferring to the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) harms peace, the Palestinian presidency said Tuesday.
"Freezing the PNA's money is a provocation to our people and a theft of our money," said Nabil Abu Rdineh, spokesman for President Mahmoud Abbas, adding that it also "accelerates the destruction of the peace process."
Israel decided to suspend transferring millions of Shekels it levies on behalf of the PNA as custom revenues. This was in response to Monday's admission of the Palestinians as a full member in the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also ordered to build 2,000 new houses for Jews in East Jerusalem, the occupied part of the city which the Palestinians want as a future capital.
Construction of Jewish settlements caused peace talks between Israel and the PNA to collapse last year. "The settlement activities go on; they have never stopped either before or after Palestine became a UNESCO member," Abu Rdineh said.
Abu Rdineh added that Israel will be violating international laws if it meets its threats to ban UNESCO representatives from entering Israel or the Palestinian territories to classify some Palestinian places as world heritage sites.
Accepting the Palestinians as a member of the UNESCO boosts the Palestinian leadership efforts to obtain recognition and become a full member of the UN. In September, Abbas submitted an application to the UN Security Council to recognize Palestine as an independent state.