The Security Cabinet’s decision to impose sanctions against the Palestinian Authority in response to the recent Palestinian initiative at the United Nations to have the International Court of Justice prepare a legal opinion on the “occupation” won’t stop the Palestinians from pursuing their diplomatic and legal measures against Israel in the international area, defiant Palestinian officials said over the weekend.
Among the sanctions approved by the Security Cabinet on Friday were withholding tax revenues Israel collects on behalf of the PA, freezing Palestinian construction in some parts of the West Bank, and revoking VIP cards of some senior Palestinian officials.
Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki, one of the officials reportedly expected to lose his Israeli-issued VIP card, said the Israeli measures won’t stop him from continuing the legal and diplomatic offensive in the international arena.
The so-called “retaliation” measures by Israel against the sovereign, legitimate and peaceful Palestinian pursuit of justice are absolutely abominable,” said a statement released by the PA Ministry of Foreign Affairs. “States must ensure that Israel ceases its sanctions against the Palestinian people and submit to the rules-based international order or be prepared to receive the treatment owed to pariah states.”
PA presidential spokesperson Nabil Abu Rudaineh said the measures were “rejected and condemned.”
Abu Rudeineh called on the international community, particularly the US administration, to take immediate action “to stop these Israeli threats that are in violation of all resolutions of international legitimacy.”
The sanctions, he said, “confirm that the extremist occupation government seeks to escalate and drag the region to the brink of explosion.”
The Palestinians will continue “the political, diplomatic and legal struggle to end the Israeli occupation of the land of the State of Palestine and its capital, East Jerusalem," he added.
Mahmoud al-Aloul, Deputy Chairman of the ruling Fatah faction, condemned the “retaliatory measures taken by the fascist occupation government.”
Aloul told the PA’s Voice of Palestine radio station that the sanctions “expose the ugly face of the occupation, and the world must realize the crimes it (Israel) is committing against our people.”
He said the sanctions, as well as National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir’s “storming” of the al-Aqsa Mosque compound (Temple Mount) and Israeli threats to impose severe restrictions on Palestinian security prisoners, “will leave the Palestinians with no choice but to confront the challenge.”
Aloul stressed the importance of continuing the Palestinian “struggle” at all levels in international forums, as well as stepping up the “popular resistance” against Israel.
PA Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh said the Israeli decision to seize the tax revenues will exacerbate the financial crisis and deepen the treasury deficit. He denounced the move as “piracy,” emphasizing that the Palestinians won’t be discouraged from continuing the “diplomatic and political struggle” against Israel in international forums.
Shtayyeh called on the countries that condemned Ben-Gvir’s visit to the Temple Mount last week and other Israeli practices “to translate their statements into practical steps and policies that put an end to these crimes and violations.”
PLO Executive Committee Secretary-General Hussein al-Sheikh also stressed that the measures won’t stop the PA from halting its diplomatic and legal drive against Israel in international institutions and forums.
Sheikh called on the international community to force the Israeli government “to release billions of shekels” that belong to the Palestinians.
In the Gaza Strip, Hamas also condemned the Israeli “punitive measures” as a “Zionist crime” against the rights of the Palestinians.
Hamas called on the PA not to submit to “threats and blackmail” and to proceed with its efforts to prosecute Israelis before international courts.