For the last 30 years, Israel has been fixated on the failed “Oslo peace process.” Perpetuating the false paradigm of “land for peace,” terrorists, indoctrinated and brainwashed by the Palestinian Authority/Palestine Liberation Organization/Fatah; Hamas; the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine; Palestinian Islamic Jihad; and other Palestinian terrorists, have murdered thousands of Israelis and foreigners they mistook for Israelis. Peace has never been further away.
While the Israeli leadership has made offer after offer to reach an agreement – in 2008, then-prime minister Ehud Olmert even offered the Palestinians more than 100% of Judea and Samaria, yet Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas still refused the deal – the Palestinian leadership had merely milked the so-called “peace process” for all they could get.
Instead of promoting peace, the Palestinian leadership has adhered to its “stages program” to destroy Israel and has seen every step taken by Israel as a weakness and an incentive for more violence.
Successive Israeli governments have witnessed the Palestinian abuse, and each of them, in turn, has chosen to turn a blind eye and continue down the road of destruction. While the Palestinians taught their children to hate, kill, and be killed, the Israeli governments all turned a blind eye. While the Palestinians glorified terror and terrorists, the Israeli governments all turned a blind eye. While the Palestinians spread global antisemitism, the Israeli governments all turned a blind eye.
When the Palestinians sent the mother of six terrorist murderers to ask the United Nations to recognize the non-existent “State of Palestine,” the Israeli governments all turned a blind eye. When the non-existent “State of Palestine” joined the International Criminal Court, the Israeli governments all turned a blind eye.
When the Palestinians fired tens of thousands of rockets indiscriminately targeting Israel’s civilian population, the Israeli governments all turned a blind eye. And, as the Palestinians paid billions of shekels in cash rewards for terrorists who participated in terror and murdered Israelis, the Israeli governments all turned a blind eye.
In response to each of these malfeasances, there was, of course, some kind of reaction from the Israeli government. In the best of Israeli tradition, the successive governments cried foul and complained to the international community. In some instances, the Israeli governments even responded with brute military force.
But, while the international community ignored the Israeli grievances, indifferent to Jewish blood being spilled, and condemned Israel’s “disproportionate” response to the missile attacks, behind the scenes lurked an insidious reality.
Israel can prevent the PA from accessing its tax receipts
AS PART of the Oslo process, Israel agreed to waive billions of shekels of tax revenues in favor of the Palestinian Authority, the newly created vehicle for peace, or to be more exact, vehicle for destruction. These taxes account for 65%-70% of the PA’s budget. Without the taxes, the PA cannot exist. Without the taxes, the PA cannot engage in all of its terror-promoting activities.
But while the Israeli governments all hold the financial existence and future of the PA in their hands, they have positively chosen to continue feeding the beast.
Records of the Israeli tax collection from 2010 through the end of January 2023, provided by the Finance Ministry in response to requests under the Freedom of Information law, show that only once, during that entire period, has Israel withheld the tax revenues. In essence, while justifiably bemoaning the Palestinian indoctrination, incitement, lawfare, warfare, terror, and hatred, Israel’s governments have actually been active financial participants, if not full-blown partners, in the debacle.
Disappointingly, Israel’s current so-called “fully right-wing government” is no less culpable. Since the government was formed in late December 2022, the Palestinian incitement has continued unabated. The “Pay-for-Slay” terror reward payments have continued unabated. The Palestinian assault on Israel in the international forums has continued unabated.
And yet, since taking office, the Israeli government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, and National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir, has transferred to the PA approximately three billion shekels (net), even after deducting Palestinian payments for water, sewage, Palestinian hospital bills, Palestinian use of electricity, and implementation of Israel’s Anti-Pay-for-Slay law.
While the cliché would have the world believe that the Israeli governments all use brain over brawn to prevail against our enemies, when it comes to the PA, our governments are so stuck in their false reality, that they just can raise their heads above the putrid water.
With the Palestinian multi-fronted assault rising constantly, now is the time for Israel to recalculate its route.
While brute force and complaining have consistently and miserably failed, it is time for Israel’s government to adopt a new strategy. It is simple and does not have to endanger the life of one IDF soldier. All Israel’s government needs to do is force the PA to choose: money or terror, life or death. All Israel’s government needs to do is stop the flow of our money to promote, support, and fund Palestinian terror.
The writer is the director of legal strategies for Palestinian Media Watch. He served for 19 years in the IDF Military Advocate-General Corps. In his last position, he served as director of the Military Prosecution in Judea and Samaria. Tweets at @mauricehirsch4