PA: Bennett government committing ‘war crimes, daily killings’

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is urging the Biden administration to fulfill its promises.

 Prime Minister Naftali Bennett addresses the Knesset about the budget. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett addresses the Knesset about the budget.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)

The Palestinian Authority renewed its threat to hold Israel accountable before international forums for allegedly committing “war crimes” against Palestinians.

The latest threat comes amid growing disappointment in Ramallah over the US administration’s failure to fulfill its promises to the Palestinians and exert pressure on Israel to halt its “provocative” measures in Jerusalem and the West Bank.

The threat on Thursday comes amid an acute financial crisis in the PA following a sharp decline in international aid to the Palestinians, and Israel’s policy of deducting millions of shekels from tax revenues it collects on behalf of the Palestinians every month.

The deducted money is equivalent to the amount of stipend the PA pays to the families of Palestinians killed or imprisoned for carrying out terrorist attacks against Israelis.

Nabil Abu Rudaineh, spokesperson for the PA presidency, said that the Israeli government headed by Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has proven to be worse than previous governments.

 Prime Minister Naftali Bennett speaks at a cabinet meeting on November 14, 2021 (credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/POOL) Prime Minister Naftali Bennett speaks at a cabinet meeting on November 14, 2021 (credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/POOL)

“Our people are facing a series of Israeli governments that are destroying any attempt to salvage the peace process,” Abu Rudaineh said in an interview with the PA’s Voice of Palestine radio station. “The current occupation government has gone further than its predecessors with daily killings and war crimes.”

He urged the Bennett government to “reconsider its racist policies,” which, he said, “will not go unpunished.”

The Palestinian leadership, Abu Rudaineh warned, “possesses all the legal means to go to international forums to hold Israel responsible for its crimes that violate international law, and which will not lead to peace, stability or prosperity in the entire region.”

Earlier this week, the government decided to sanction ministries that fail to transfer their departments to Jerusalem. Abu Rudaineh condemned as “illegitimate” the Israeli government’s decision to transfer ministries to Jerusalem.

The PA official called on the US administration to “quickly turn its positive statements into actions on the ground,” especially regarding Washington’s commitment to the two-state solution, opposition to settlement construction, and its promise to reopen the US consulate in Jerusalem, which was merged into the US Embassy in 2018.

According to Abu Rudaineh, PA President Mahmoud Abbas told US Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield during a meeting in Ramallah on Wednesday night that any attempt by Israel to change the status quo in Jerusalem would lead to “a deterioration of the situation and undermine the two-state solution.”

Abbas warned that the situation will not continue as it is, Abu Rudaineh added, and that Israel and the US will be held responsible for any escalation.

Abbas said at the meeting that he expects the Biden administration to abide by its commitments and promises regarding the two-state solution, settlement expansion and the reopening of the US consulate.

“The Palestinians are awaiting the implementation of these American positions on the ground in order to give hope to the Palestinian people to end the occupation and recognize their right to self-determination, freedom and independence,” Abbas was quoted by the PA’s official news agency Wafa as telling Thomas-Greenfield.

He accused Israel of working toward changing the status quo at the Temple Mount, and evicting Arab families from their homes in east Jerusalem neighborhoods.

Abbas also expressed opposition to Israel’s recent decision to label six Palestinian NGOs as terrorist organizations because of their affiliation with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).

“We are extending our hands for peace and holding an international conference under the auspices of the International Quartet,” Abbas said, according to Wafa.