Steinitz meets with Sri Mulyani Indrawati_311.
(photo credit: GPO)
NEW YORK – Israel will weigh taking economic measures against the Palestinian
Authority if it continues to pursue unilateral steps and refuses to return to
the negotiating table, Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz told The Jerusalem Post
He spoke with the Post from a hotel lobby in New York, where
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has been staying since his arrival last
“It is impossible to think that we will continue to help and
to cooperate with the Palestinian authorities and the economy like nothing
happened,” he said, just two days after PA President Mahmoud Abbas’s speech at
the UN asking for unilateral statehood.
Among the measures he would
consider, Steinitz said, would be to delay the monthly transfer of tax
funds.RELATED:Steinitz touts 'sanctions' if PA state bid goes to
UN vote Steinitz threatens to stop PA tax transfers over UN
The Palestinian unilateral strategy is to gain a state without
ending the conflict and it is a “betrayal” of the peace process, said
“I think it is up to us to think whether we take counter-
measures and how to react to such a hostile move,” he added.
In the past,
Steinitz said Israel has supported Palestinian state-building measures with the
understanding that it is helpful to the process.
“Until now, we
cooperated with the PA to help them build their institutes and their economy,”
“Since Netanyahu took power we announced an economic peace
As a result the Palestinian economy has boomed and the
standard of living has improved dramatically, he said. This was under the
assumption that Israel and the Palestinians were part of a process that would create two states for two people, he said.
Now if the
PA wants to move forward alone, he said, they might find themselves “alone” on
the economic front as well.
“It will be very difficult, and even odd, for
Israel to cooperate and to help the PA [economically] if they are going against
Israel,” he said.
During this trip to the US, he said, he also visited
Washington, where he met with a number of senators who spoke of the possibility
that America could also cut off assistance to the Palestinians.
assistance to the PA is mainly in order to promote peace for both Palestinians
and Israelis,” said Steinitz.
“The whole basis of it was [to move
forward] bilaterally, not unilaterally.”
Steinitz said he agreed with
Abbas’s statement that the Oslo Accords, and in particular the 1994 Paris
Protocol that set out the terms of economic agreement between the Palestinians
and Israel, should be re-examined.
“The Palestinian behavior is such that
we have to reconsider Oslo,” he said.