Palestinians condemn Israeli sanctions as 'piracy'


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JERUSALEM (AP) — The Palestinian negotiator in Mideast peace talks is calling Israel's decision to stop tax money transfers "piracy."

Saeb Erekat said Friday that "the Israeli decision to withhold these funds is piracy. ... It cannot be maintained." He also said talks persist, though "gaps remain big."

Erekat spoke a day after an Israeli official said Israel would stop the tax money transfers in retaliation for the Palestinians pushing to sign up for more recognition from international agencies and treaties. That comes after Israel failed to release Palestinian prisoners as promised and moved forward with more settlements in land Palestinians want for their future capital.

Israel collects about $100 million a month in taxes for the Palestinians. U.S. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki called the Israeli move "unfortunate" on Friday.

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