The Israeli Government Undermines Efforts to Stop Palestinian Authority Salaries to Terrorists

(Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs) Brig.-Gen. (res.) Yossi Kuperwasser - Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz said on Aug. 30 that Israel plans to loan $150 million (NIS 500 million) to the Palestinian Authority at the same time Israel is implementing a freeze of funds paid by the PA for salaries to terrorists. The frozen sum is similar to the amount of the loan to the PA. By this move Israel is severely impairing its ability to demand that the PA cease paying salaries to terrorists, as well as weakening its ability to influence international parties to make the same demand of the PA. To justify the transfer of money, it is alleged that the PA may collapse due to its severe economic crisis. This is largely caused by the cessation of Arab and international aid, and Israel's putative measures. It is also argued that Israel is required to support the PA's Abbas, following Hamas' growing stature in the Palestinian political sphere. There is also a claim that cooperation with the PA's security forces is essential to curbing terrorism from the Palestinian-controlled territories. In practice, Mahmoud Abbas guarantees any terrorist imprisoned for his activities a much larger salary than he would receive in any other job, with salary increases during the years of his/her imprisonment. The more serious the attack, the more money received. Abbas also guarantees that terrorists imprisoned for more than five years will be given employment in the Palestinian Authority, and time served will be considered for seniority purposes. The fear of the collapse of the PA is exaggerated as long as Abbas rules. Although the PA is in political distress more than economic distress, it has already endured much worse crises and it has not collapsed. Last year, the Palestinian Authority, on its own initiative, stopped receiving tax transfers from Israel and halted security cooperation. Nevertheless, the PA continued to function and the scope of terrorism did not rise. The writer is Director of the Project on Regional Middle East Developments at the Jerusalem Center. He was formerly Director General of the Israel Ministry of Strategic Affairs and head of the Research Division of IDF Military Intelligence.

2021-10-11 00:00:00

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