As a lesson in practical politics, we’ve now learned that the Palestinian Authority does respond to properly applied pressure, and at least to a certain extent, the PA can be forced to uphold its end of an agreement, if it is firmly and resolutely made clear to them that it is in their self-interest to do so.
Following unilateral steps and threats by the PA in the international arena, Israel decided to freeze the transfer of all collected PA tax revenue since January, to the tune of around 500 million shekels.
While the PA will still be joining the International Criminal Court on April 1, it has decided it will not pursue additional legal steps against Israel or Israelis, according to a Jerusalem Post report.
The decision was made in connection to Israel agreeing, on Friday, to free up the frozen PA tax revenue, minus the PA’s debt to Israel for services including water, electricity and medical care.
In addition, the PA won’t be halting security cooperation with Israel, as it threatened to do.
Both decisions were made, based on rational self-interest considerations on the PA’s part – survival.
Maintaining security cooperation with Israel is the only way the PA won’t be taken over by Hamas in Judea and Samaria.
And they discovered that agreeing to not attack Israel in the ICC, which would be yet another breach in the treaties they signed with Israel, was the only way to get Israel to free up their tax revenue, without which the PA would collapse.
No decision has been made by Israel whether to release March’s revenue to the PA. Israel is waiting to see what the PA actually does at the ICC in April, and if they maintain the security cooperation.
Israeli legal organizations, such as Shurat HaDin, have also prepared their own legal cases against the Palestinian Authority to bring to the International Criminal Court, and their cases are far stronger than anything the PA could possibly bring against Israel. If the PA does takes steps against Israel at the ICC, these organizations will hit back even harder.
This is a threat that the PA leadership is also concerned about.