Property Taxes Create Dispute in Disputed West Bank

I think we can all agree that calling the West Bank one of the more disputed areas in the world would be an understatement. Well, to further complicate things, there’s a property tax dispute going on in the West Bank. The council of a Jewish settlement in Hebron ruled that a Palestinian citizen must pay 88,200 shekels in property taxes for his property. They claim it is part of their settlement. He claims it’s not part of the settlement and is simply a tactic to have his family removed from the land.

To help create context for this volatile situation, here’s a brief, and admittedly incomplete, history of the West Bank. Jordan formally annexed it in 1950 with the departure of the British, although this annexation was only recognized by Britain and Pakistan. Israel occupied the West Bank and began building settlements in it after winning the Six-Day War of 1967. After decades of disputes, Jordan officially renounced all administrative responsibilities for the West Bank in 1988. Disputes have continued between different groups seeking control over the area, and between those groups and Israel.

The property tax dispute in Hebron has much broader implications than just the tax itself, perhaps starting with who has the right to tax who in the West Bank. I don’t envy whoever has to sort this dispute out.

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