Communications Minister Ayoub Kara.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
The best thing that US President Donald Trump does for Israel is rip off the “Palestinians mask of hypocrisy,” Communications Minister Ayoub Kara said Wednesday morning, in response to Trump's tweet threatening to pull funding from the Palestinians for refusal to enter peace negotiations.
US envoy to the UN threatens to pull funding from Palestinians if they refuse to join peace talks with Israel, January 3, 2018 (Reuters)
Kara, in a tweet he posted soon after Trump's pair of tweets about the Palestinians, said that the US president tells the world the obvious: the Palestinian Authority is the “peace refusenik, and why should those who laugh at you be helped? This is also true of the UN and UNRWA.”
Kara characterized Trump's declaration about Jerusalem and his comments that the settlements are not the obstacle to peace as sharp and appropriate.
Minister of Education Naftali Bennett responded with a statement in which he slammed the possibility of a two-state solution: "President Trump is not afraid to say the truth, even if it's not popular. The truth is Jerusalem has always been, and will always be, Israel's capital. The truth is no peace deal could ever be predicated on the division of Jerusalem. The truth is the US has no interest in funding those who act against its interest. The truth is the Palestinian leadership continues to fund terrorists, using US tax monies. By speaking truth, we can stop the fantasy of another Palestinian state in the heart of Israel."
Culture and Sports Minister Miri Regev said in an Army Radio interview that she was pleased with Trump's tweet. “It can't be that on the one hand he gives $300 million to UNRWA, and on the other hand they slam the door in his face and say they will not even enter into negotiations.”.
Israel's Deputy Defense Minister, Eli Ben Dahan, also interviewed on Army Radio, praised Trump's tweet. "Finally the US President tells the Palestinians the truth. These Arabs have cheated the world for years. They took money from donor countries and instead of building a state, the leaders lined their own pockets," he said. "If the Palestinians refuse to talk, we [Israel] will benefit. The state of Israel will grow and the settlement project will grow."
Taking a more critical approach, former Israeli Justice Minister and chief negotiator Tzipi Livni tweeted that the Israeli government should make clear its own interest in continued funding of the PA. "A serious and responsible government would stop mixing up politics with national security and quietly and discreetly sit down with the president of the US and explain to him Israel's real interests, which include preventing a humanitarian crisis in Gaza and continuing the cooperation with PA security forces,"
She concluded that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was not serious and was under political pressure by right-wing rival Naftali Bennett.
None of the Israeli officials related to Trump's hint in his pair of tweets that Israel would have “have had to pay more” in negotiations for the US declaration on Jerusalem, something not relevant now that the Palestinians are not willing to negotiate.
The Prime Minister's Office had no immediate response to the Trump tweets.