Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman says the Palestinian Authority (PA) is wrong if it thinks it can pressure the Jewish State into making concessions in the wake of a U.N. vote on Palestinian statehood, and Israel is withholding tax monies from the PA to prove it.
In the days and weeks since the U.N. vote granting de facto statehood status to Palestine, Israel has been an object of ridicule and wrath to an even greater degree than usual.
To be clear, this doesn’t mean Israel is withholding monies it owes to the PA. Rather, it means Israel is no longer going to give money to the PA at levels it has been giving heretofore.
As Lieberman said on Dec 12:
Until today we have paid 700 million shekels in advances for salaries for employees of the Palestinian Authority and we paid another 900 million shekels while absorbing the cost of electricity and water that the Palestinians had to pay and didn’t. Overall this amounts to a billion and 600,000 shekels.
Lieberman said Israel’s plan to withhold the funds is temporary, and will only last long enough to allow Israel to recover what they’ve lost to the Palestinians to this point: “What we are doing now and will continue to do for the next four months is taking back our money, not their money.”
He said that after four months have passed, Israel will figure out what the next step needs to be.
Between now and then, Lieberman simply reminds the world that Israel has been “very generous” and “tried to work constructively with the Palestinians” to this point. But from here on out Israel will “behave in a very different manner.”