Steinitz touts 'sanctions' if PA state bid goes to UN vote

Finance minister tells Channel 2 he believes tax transfers to PA should be halted if Palestinians don't enter meaningful peace talks soon.

Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz_311 (photo credit: Reuters)
Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz_311
(photo credit: Reuters)
Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz on Saturday said that he believes that if the Palestinian Authority's statehood bid continues to a vote in the UN Security Council or the UN General Assembly, Israel should impose "sanctions" on the PA, including halting the transfer of tax revenues to the West Bank leadership.
Speaking from New York in an interview with Channel 2, Steinitz qualified his statement by saying that if the Palestinian Authority decides to enter "meaningful" peace talks and shows a "willingness to compromise," than such sanctions will not be necessary. He said that the PA's behavior in the coming days would determine the strategy that Israel employs.
PA unhappy with 'incomplete' Quartet peace initiative
Netanyahu urges Abbas to hold immediate peace talks
The finance minister added that the decision to halt tax revenues to the PA would not be his decision alone, but rather the decision of the government and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.
Steinitz stated that the government had employed a "smart and sophisticated strategy to neutralize" the PA statehood bid. He cited US President Barack Obama's speech to the UN General Assembly on Wednesday, in which he voiced strong opposition to the statehood bid, as one positive result of Israel's long-term strategy to combat the unilateral move.
Also on Saturday, Likud MK Ophir Akunis lashed out at PA President Mahmoud Abbas, calling him a "liar who distorts history", Army Radio reported. His comments came amidst the stream of reactions to Abbas's speech at the United National General Assembly Friday.
"The Palestinians have always refused peace,"  Akunis said during a cultural event in Herzliya. "They are not interested in negotiations and they do not want Israel to exist as a Jewish state".
Akunis added that "Abu Mazen [Abbas] is a liar,who denies the Holocaust and distorts history, and last night he revealed his true face to the world."
Click for full JPost coverage