UN praises Israel aid to Palestinians as bereaved families demand block

"If current trends continue, the damage to the economy risks the very existence of the PA."

President Rivlin with UN Special Coordinator Mladenov on Wednesday, October 17, 2018. (photo credit: MARK NEYMAN / GPO)
President Rivlin with UN Special Coordinator Mladenov on Wednesday, October 17, 2018.
(photo credit: MARK NEYMAN / GPO)
Israel is taking measures to ensure the Palestinian Authority’s survival, UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov told the UN Security Council on Thursday hours after bereaved families petitioned the High Court of Justice to stop those very actions.
Mladenov cited meetings with Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon, who agreed that tax and tariff revenue transferred to the Palestinian Authority will not fall under $137 million per month. The Finance Ministry confirmed the agreement.
“This is the minimum amount necessary to ensure the PA’s fiscal viability and critical service delivery to the Palestinians,” Mladenov said.
The envoy warned that "if current trends continue, the damage to the economy risks the very existence of the PA. Revenues from trade, tourism and transfers have declined to their lowest level in the last two decades."
In past remarks, Mladenov praised Israel and the Palestinians for their “excellent cooperation” in fighting the coronavirus pandemic.
Last month, Kahlon agreed to the transfer of NIS 120 million of tax funds as emergency aid to the PA, on the advice of IDF Chief-of-Staff Aviv Kochavi who expressed concerns about Israel's security if the PA collapses. Kahlon refused to send the additional NIS 650 million that the PA demanded. Israel also agreed to loan the PA money last week to help it handle the coronavirus crisis.
Israel transfers funds to the PA each month, but the amount that the PA sends to terrorists and their families is deducted from that sum.
The PA “pay for slay” scheme, amounting to over half a billion shekels from its annual budget, is a monthly salary for terrorists based on the length of their prison sentence in Israel, such that they are paid more for killing rather than maiming, and more for killing multiple people. They also pay the families of those killed while committing an act of terror.
Choosing Life, an organization of bereaved families and victims of terror, petitioned the High Court on Thursday to stop the government from transferring funds to the PA to handle the pandemic.
“We are funding the murderers of our children,” Herzl and Merav Hajaj said. “We invite the government to directly pay the money to the family of the murderer of our daughter and three other IDF officers.”
The organization’s petition argues that a large part of the funds will go to terrorists and their families as payment for their participation in terrorist attacks against Israel.
In the UN Security Council meeting, Palestinian representative Riyad Mansour accused Israel of destroying clinics and subjecting Palestinian prisoners to medical neglect as coronavirus spreads.
Mansour argued that the blockade of Gaza “leaves millions of people, including children, imprisoned and in danger of contagion.”
The remarks come after Mansour falsely accused Israelis of spitting on Palestinians to spread COVID-19 and claimed IDF soldiers hampered the PA’s efforts to fight the virus.
In response, Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon called Mansour’s remarks “slander,” saying “IDF soldiers risk their lives to contain the outbreak for both Israelis and Palestinians.”
Danon accused Mansour of being part of a long history of antisemitic accusations that Jews spread disease.
“This is nothing new. During times of crises and disease, anti-Semitism has always raised its ugly head,” he said. “As the Black Death ravaged Europe in the 14th century, rumors spread that Jews conspired and poisoned wells, leading to the epidemic’s spread. In the 18th century, the Jews were blamed for the plague in Algeria. In every generation, for every calamity to befall our societies, people blame the Jews. And we are witnessing this again today.”
Danon said to Mansour: “You have made it clear that you prefer to hate Israel more than help the Palestinian people."