TEL AVIV – Israel is too lenient with the Palestinians and should have cut funds to the Palestinian Authority a long time ago, Syrian opposition activist Issam Zeitoun told Breitbart News.
The Israeli security cabinet last week approved cutting some NIS 502,697,000 ($138 million) from taxes owed to the PA over its payments to terrorists and their families.
Zeitoun dismissed the argument of some security officials in Israel that cutting funds to the PA would only make the situation in the West Bank more volatile.
“I wonder how anyone in Israel ever accepted that,” he said.
“Any country would do the same,” Zeitoun stated. “Israel was too patient with them [Palestinians].”
“The first thing that any state does when it is faced with terrorism is to cut the funds, to control the finances,” he added.
He went on to explain how the so-called pay-for-slay scheme incentivizes terrorists.
“Israel is paying for the people who are killing its citizens — it’s not acceptable. It’s also a motivation, it encourages Palestinians to kill more because the family will receive lifelong salary.”
In the wide-ranging interview, Zeitoun claimed that Jews have become the scapegoat for major Arab problems in the past century or so.
This hatred became enmeshed with Arab nationalism and took root everywhere, from the education system to the media to religious discourse, Zeitoun explained.
“Destroying Israel and liberating Jerusalem is priority number one,” Zeitoun said. “The [Arab world has] neglected everything else — health care, education, even massacres.”
The Palestinian issue became the test by which the Arab and Muslim worlds measure central tenets of their faith — from belief in God to infidelity to determining whether one is a good Muslim.
He noted, however, that cutting funds to the PA would barely make a dent when compared to the threat posed to Israel by Iran, “the main source of terrorism in the world.”
Zeitoun expressed his hope that the Trump administration would continue taking steps to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
However, he went on to say that the Palestinian leadership has no interest in ending the conflict. “They want to keep this situation of deceiving everyone in the world, and getting money from other states and from Israel.”
Israel, Zeitoun said, is “moral and human.” He pointed to the IDF’s practice of warning civilians to evacuate buildings in Gaza before an airstrike. “When we compare that with what is happening in Syria, Lebanon and Yemen, the Israelis look like angels.”
Zeitoun described the so-called “March of Return” demonstrations along the border with Gaza as “protests of lies.”
“[Israel] provides the Gaza Strip with humanitarian aid and even family members of the leaders of Hamas are provided with medical care, yet no one talks about that,” he said.
Referring to the Arab citizens of Israel, Zeitoun asserted that “they have the best life of any Arab in [Arab] countries.”