PA's Artificial Economic Crisis Seeks Israeli Recognition that Palestinian Terror Is Legitimate

(Israel Institute for Strategic Studies) Brig.-Gen. (res.) Yossi Kuperwasser - With Abbas' refusal to accept tax revenues collected by Israel for the Palestinian Authority, now that the Anti-"Pay to Slay" Law passed by the Knesset in July 2018 has been implemented, it seems that his goal is to obtain Israeli and international legitimacy for salary payments to terrorists - a de facto recognition of the PA's position that this terror is legitimate. The PA's thesis on the legitimacy of terror was expressed in an official paper published by the PLO Committee for Interaction with Israeli Society. The PA fears that agreeing to a compromise now will open the door to a wave of additional pressures, including demands that they stop incitement and recognize Israel as the national homeland of the Jewish People. The truth is that they reject the very existence of a Jewish People and do not recognize that the Jewish nation has a history of sovereignty in the Land of Israel. This is the basis for their claim that there is no justification for creating the Jewish nation-state on that land and for their belief that all forms of struggle against Zionism are legitimate. The PA leadership's insistence on continuing wage payments to terrorists and their families, even at the price of an artificial economic crisis, shows once again that in Palestinian eyes the Oslo Accords did not reflect a substantive change in Palestinian national aspirations or in the methods employed to achieve them. True, there is cooperation on security issues with the PA, but that serves the interests of both sides. The PA cooperates mainly in the battle against Hamas and hardly lifts a finger against the phenomenon of lone terrorists, which it actually encourages by means of continuous incitement (including paying salaries to terrorists and glorifying them). Israel should not do anything to hasten the PA's breakdown, because it has no desire to rule over the Palestinians and run their day-to-day lives, but it also should not feel more obligated to the PA's continued existence than do the Palestinians themselves, thereby leaving itself open to continuous extortion on strategic issues. Israel has no real reason to be anxious about the Palestinians purposely causing their government's collapse, because its existence is the most important accomplishment of the Palestinians so far. The writer, former head of the IDF Military Intelligence Research Division, is Director of the Project on Regional Middle East Developments at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.

2019-05-22 00:00:00

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