Punitive measures imposed by Israel on the Palestinian Authority will “promptly lead to its collapse,” P.A. Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh said on Monday.
Israel’s Security Cabinet last week approved the measures in response to what it described as the P.A.’s ongoing “political and legal war” against the Jewish state. They came a week after the U.N. General Assembly, at the urging of the P.A., passed a resolution calling on the International Court of Justice to “render urgently an advisory opinion” on Israel’s “prolonged occupation, settlement and annexation of Palestinian territory.”
In an interview with Haaretz, Shtayyeh described the Security Cabinet decision as “another nail in the Palestinian Authority’s coffin, unless there is immediate intervention by the international community, namely the [Biden] administration in Washington and Arab countries.
“Previous Israeli governments worked to eliminate the two-state solution, and the current government is fighting the Palestinian Authority itself,” he added.
Asked why the P.A. continues to wage a campaign against Israel in international fora, Shtayyeh said, “We have the right to complain and tell the world we are in pain. Israel wants to prevent even the most nonviolent way of fighting the occupation.”
Jerusalem on Sunday transferred 138.8 million shekels ($39.5 million) of revenues collected for the P.A. to the victims of terrorism and their families.
At a press conference, Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich said, “We promised to fix this, and today we are correcting an injustice. This is an important day for morality, for justice and for the fight against terrorism. There is no greater justice than offsetting the funds of the Authority, which acts to support terrorism, and transferring them to the families of the victims of terrorism.”
The P.A. pays monthly stipends to Arabs and/or their families, for carrying out terrorist attacks against Israel. In 2021, the P.A. paid out an estimated 512 million shekels ($157 million) as part of this “pay for slay” policy.
When asked about the possible economic collapse of the P.A., Smotrich replied, “As long as the Palestinian Authority encourages terrorism and is an enemy, what interest do I have in helping it exist?”
The Security Cabinet also decided to immediately withhold taxes and tariffs collected on behalf of the P.A., in an amount equal to that which Ramallah paid to terrorists and their families in 2022 as part of its “pay-for-slay” policy.
The Security Cabinet placed a moratorium on PA construction in Area C of Judea and Samaria, with a view to curbing illegal building, and ordered the revocation of VIP benefits to P.A. officials leading the “lawfare” campaign against Israel.