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Israel will soon decide whether to resume turning over the taxes and custom fees it collects on commercial traffic into and out of the West Bank on behalf of the PA as required by the Oslo Accords. The Netanyahu government, as a means of expressing opposition to the PA’s recent attempts at winning United Nations membership and its renewal of power-sharing talks with Hamas, has been freezing the funds since the PA was granted full membership in UNESCO in late October
Naturally, Israel’s action was met with a crescendo of international condemnation. Whether or not Prime Minister Netanyahu eventually decides to resume the payments, a review of the facts reveals that Israel is acting as other nations have, even at the present time. It would appear the criticism is yet another example of the international community’s seeking to deny to Israel the rights all other sovereign nations take for granted. This, of course, only serves to fuel Palestinian recalcitrance.
There is no denying that the Israeli policy is serious business. The withheld funds typically amount to approximately $100 million a month and constitute two-thirds of the PA’s revenues. The October funds were not turned over and, as of now, neither will the November receipts. Because of the international financial crisis, foreign donors cannot pick up the slack and have even reneged on past pledges. Apparently, the PA is desperate and government salaries due on December 1, which support one million Palestinians, will go unpaid.
“With each passing day, the Palestinian Authority becomes weaker and is fast approaching the day when it becomes completely incapacitated,” said Prime Minister Salam Fayyad.
He added that “If we can’t meet our contractual obligations, that has a chilling effect on the private sector. This undermines confidence in the Palestinian Authority’s capacity to function, which has a debilitating effect on investor confidence. Like a family, a government can make do with less – but not a drop of two-thirds.”
United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and senior American officials, including Secretary of State Clinton, have joined in a plea to Mr. Netanyahu to resume transferring the funds. (The UN chief inadvertently added a humorous note when, as reported by the Associated Press, he “stressed the need to de-escalate the current situation in order to help create an environment conducive to reviving the peace process.”)
Tony Blair, the representative of the so-called Quartet, consisting of the United States, Russia the European Union and the United Nations, chimed in with “Only those who oppose peace and Israeli-Palestinian cooperation benefit from the withholding of P.A. funds,“ doubtless alluding to the common refrain that a weakened PA would be compromised in its ability to restrain terrorist groups.
An Israeli spokesman, in discussing the transfer freeze, referred to UNESCO’s granting full membership to the PA as the proverbial last straw. “We wanted to make clear this could not be business as usual. The idea is to influence Palestinian decision-making.”
Plainly, there were other developments sufficient in their own right to convince Israel it had to act.
President Abbas was noticeably silent after the recent rocket attack on southern Israel that resulted in a fatality. Mr. Abbas went out of his way to praise the abduction of Gilad Shalit and called the Palestinians released in exchange for Shalit – many of whom are convicted murderers of Israelis – as heroes and patriots. He subsequently granted them stipends and free housing. He has also reiterated that he will never recognize Israel as a Jewish state and has been reaching out to Hamas in direct violation of the Oslo Accords.
The largesse to the freed Palestinians was particularly rankling. It was one thing for Israeli leaders to swallow hard and free all those murderers in return for Shalit. It was quite another for Israel to have to facilitate the well being of those murderers, even if one believes the frozen funds rightfully belong to the PA.
It is important to appreciate the overall context in which all of this is occurring.
Over the past few years the UN has imposed various economic sanctions against Iran because of its efforts to achieve a nuclear weapons capacity. Last week the U.S., Britain and Canada announced new sanctions on Iran’s energy and financial sectors.
At a press conference directed at financial institutions, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said: “If you are a financial institution and you engage in any transaction involving Iran’s Central Bank or any other Iranian bank operating inside or outside Iran, you are at risk of supporting Iran’s illicit activities: its pursuit of nuclear weapons, its support of terrorism, and its efforts to deceive responsible financial institutions and evade sanctions.”
Also last week, Congressmen Ted Deutsch (D-Fla.) and Steve Israel (D-N.Y.) asked U.S. Comptroller Gene Dodaro to investigate the Palestinian Authority’s use of American funding, noting the above mentioned PA policy of granting the released prisoners a stipend and free homes. They also wanted to know whether American funds were being used to fund President Abbas’s “trips around the world on his misguided attempt to unilaterally declare statehood at the United Nations…efforts that are in direct contravention of U.S. policy.”
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Few Arab Israelis found anything positive in the decision of its MKS to join any Gaza flotilla.
US Jews prefer to be like their non-Jewish liberal friends complaining about “settlements” and Bibi
New Israel Fund & its supporters must be countered; Israel’s in the midst of an unprecedented storm
Haym Solomon, overlooked hero of the Revolutionary War, was America’s “Funding Father.”
Latvia, July 4, 1941 they forced many Jews in the shul putting it on fire; everyone was burned alive
There’s blood on the reporters’ hands AND New Israel Fund for funding groups feeding lies to the UN
Respect & appreciation for our country is not only a civic value but an essential Jewish one as well
When words lose meaning, the world becomes an Orwellian dystopia; a veritable Tower of Babel
Israel, like the non-radical Islamic world. will be happy see the ISIS beheaded for once.
Kids shouldn’t have “uninstructed” Internet access, better to train them how to use it responsibly
What if years from now, IS were to control substantial territory? What world havoc would that wreak?
Rambam writes the verse’s double term refers to 2 messiahs: first King David; 2nd the final Mashiach
The Gaza flotilla has been rightfully and legally blocked by Israel’s Navy, with greetings from Bibi
Can adoption agencies limit the placement of children to heterosexual couples only?
It wasn’t too long ago that Mr. Erdogan, in his determination to burnish Turkey’s credentials as an Islamist state at the cost of the secularism that had brought much economic and political success to Turkey, upended his country’s decades-long cooperative relationship with Israel.
Does the pope really believe that Father Dehon’s destructive anti-Jewish calumnies do not disqualify him from the highest honor of the Catholic Church because in his time everyone did it?
There was something else of great importance in play – something we would have liked to see him take into account before deciding to stand with the boycotters.
“Let’s get something straight so we don’t kid each other…[the Iranians] already have paved a path to a bomb’s worth of material,” said Mr. Biden. “Iran could get there now if they walked away in two to three months without a deal.”
Beyond the particulars of this tragic death, however, we should all be concerned about the possibility that a criminal prosecution in a major American city is being driven by fear of mobs in the street.
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/editorial/israel%e2%80%99s-economic-sanctions/2011/11/30/
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