Israel to ask U.S. Congress members to halt aid to Palestinians

Haaretz reports: After freezing the transfer of tax revenues to the Palestinian Authority, Israel is taking additional steps to punish the PA’s for its request to join the International Criminal Court at The Hague.

A senior Israeli official said on Sunday Jerusalem would be contacting pro-Israel members of the U.S. Congress to ensure the enforcement of legislation stipulating that if the Palestinians initiate any action against Israel at the ICC, the State Department would have to stop American aid to the PA, which comes to some $400 million annually. The stop-gap funding bill was passed in Congress last month.

Both houses of the new Congress to be seated later this month will be controlled by the Republican Party, with many key positions filled by senators and representatives who are pro-Israel and anti-Palestinian. The law regarding the Palestinians initiating action at the ICC is strongly worded and states that President Barack Obama cannot waive a decision to halt aid to the PA. [Continue reading…]

Zvi Bar’el writes: The half billion shekels ($128 million) in tax revenues that were to be transferred to the Palestinian Authority, but which were frozen by Israel last Friday, are a little bit less than the amount the PA spends on salaries for its employees in a single month.

This fact underlies the grave fear that the authority will be forced to delay salary payments until it finds a different solution.

It is worth recalling now that one of the main justifications for the protest in the Gaza Strip before Operation Protective Edge, which encouraged Hamas to attack Israel last summer, was the complete ban imposed by Jerusalem on the transfer of the tax money from the PA and Qatar, to the Islamic movement’s government in Gaza.

We can learn from this that any sanctions imposed by Jerusalem on the PA could very well serve as a double-edged sword against Israel. [Continue reading…]

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