Palestinian unilateral statehood is as dangerous as terror attacks, Finance
Minister Yuval Steinitz said Monday.
He defended the security cabinet’s
decision to continue to freeze the transfer of tax revenues to the Palestinian
At the meeting Defense Minister Ehud Barak warned it was a
mistake to withhold the $100 million in October tax fees.
officials have said the absence of funds could harm Israeli security
arrangements with the PA, a move that would increase the danger of terror
Some Palestinians said they worried the lack of money could lead
the PA to collapse.
“I’m willing to take that risk,” Steinitz told Army
Israel first suspended the transfer of funds earlier this month to
protest the continued Palestinian pursuit of unilateral statehood at the
Quartet reps meet PM envoy Molcho in J'lem
Steinitz threatens to stop PA tax transfers over UN bid
It was particularly upset by the October 31 decision by UNESCO to
recognize Palestine as the 195th member of its organization.
efforts to unilaterally achieve statehood without ending the conflict and
without recognizing Israel as a Jewish state, “is not less dangerous to Israel
than the terror that occurred under the reign of former PA chairman Yasser
Arafat,” Steinitz said. “We’re talking about the complete betrayal and
elimination of the idea of peace.”
It could lead to the creation of a
“hostile [Palestinian] state,” he said.
On top of that, he said,
Palestinian efforts to re-unify with Hamas, only “adds insult to
“In my opinion, it’s not enough to halt the funds; we need to
take additional measures,” he said.
Earlier in the day on a tour of the
Cave of the Patriarchs, Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Minister Yuli
Edelstein said it was obvious relations with the PA could not continue as
“For the last couple of years, the PA is saying loudly and
clearly that they do not want peace, they do not want negotiations. They
are doing everything in their power to delegitimize Israel. I think that Israel
cannot just pretend that nothing is happening,” Edelstein said.
week, Israel Beiteinu MK Moshe Matalon sent Steinitz a letter requesting that he
stop sending taxpayers’ money to the PA.
The letter, which was publicized
only on Monday, includes the signatures of over 35 MKs from Likud, Israel
Beiteinu, Kadima, Shas, Habayit Hayehudi and National Union.
not the only issue that concerned the MKs.
Matalon explains in his letter
that Abbas announced, upon the release of prisoners in the Schalit deal, that he
would give $5,000 as a sign of appreciation to each of them. In a meeting
with those “murderers,” Abbas said he would build a home for each of the
“Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has
proved that he hasn’t changed, and he supports and encourages terror,” he
said. “Therefore, stopping money from reaching the PA is necessary and
immeasurably important for the State of Israel’s security.”