Daily Israel Report

Netanyahu May Reward Abbas for ‘Diplomatic Calm’

Prime Minister says he may free Palestinian Authority tax money collected by Israel because Mahmoud Abbas has “calmed down.”
By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
First Publish: 11/28/2011, 2:08 PM

Binyamin Netanyahu
Binyamin Netanyahu
Flash 90

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu says he may release Palestinian Authority (PA) tax revenues collected by Israel because PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas has “calmed down” after his failure to win full membership in the United Nations.

The Prime Minister's suggestion put a different spin on Abbas' success in winning membership on a United Nations agency – UNESCO – a move that previously was met with a swift freeze on U.S. aid to the PA and an Israeli freeze on taxes it collects for the PA.

The United States has since relented, and in light of Abbas’ silence – for the time being – concerning requests for membership on more than a dozen of other United Nations bodies, Prime Minister Netanyahu appears to be following in line. Additional pressure comes from PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad’s statements that the PA may dissolve because of the lack of funds.

"We will examine this situation every month. We recognize a respite on the Palestinian side from unilateral moves. We don't know how long this situation will continue, but things seem to have calmed down,” Prime Minister Netanyahu told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Security Committee.

He also switched positions concerning the proposed unity between the Hamas terrorist organization and Fatah, headed by Abbas. Last May, Israel froze tax revenues after the rival factions signed a unity agreement.

"We see that the unity talks with Hamas are more of a symbolic and tactical move that have no concrete results," Prime Minister Netanyahu told the Knesset committee Monday.