Abbas: We Have to 'Reexamine' Ties with Israel

PA chairman blasts Israel for withholding tax revenues, says the PA must reexamine ties with Israel.

Elad Benari, Canada,

Mahmoud Abbas
Mahmoud Abbas
Issam Rimawi/Flash 90

Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Mahmoud Abbas on Friday said there was no other choice but to “reexamine” relations with Israel, Kol Yisrael radio reported.

Speaking on the sidelines of an economic conference at the Egyptian Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, Abbas criticized Israel for suspending the transfer of the PA’s tax revenues, a move which Israel took in retaliation for the PA’s move to join the International Criminal Court (ICC).

By suspending the tax revenues, charged Abbas, Israel “robbed” the PA of all its powers in Ramallah in such a way that the government cannot fulfill its responsibility towards the Palestinian people. Therefore, he said, it is inevitable that the economic and security ties with Israel be reexamined in order "to ensure that the Palestinian Authority can retake its role in ending the occupation."

"Israel must choose: peace with the Palestinian people or the continued occupation of the land of Palestine," Abbas declared, according to Kol Yisrael.

"It is inconceivable that Israel will place itself above international law and will continue to bring down agreements signed, will act to change the identity of Jerusalem and continue the siege of the Gaza Strip,” he continued.

Abbas’s comments come days after the Palestine Liberation Organization's (PLO) central council decided to end security cooperation with Israel, a move Abbas had threatened several times to carry out over the past few months.

Later on Friday, Abbas held talks with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and the leaders of Egypt and Jordan on the stalled Middle East peace process, officials said.

The four leaders discussed creating an environment to "push forward the peace process to reach a comprehensive and just peace in the region," Sisi's office said in a statement quoted by AFP.

During the meeting Sisi "emphasised that achieving peace and stability in the region will bring stability to all the countries in the region," the statement said.

Kerry was able to force Israel and the PA into a six-month negotiation period in 2014, but the PA torpedoed those talks by requesting to join 15 international agencies in breach of the conditions of the negotiations.

Last month the United States voiced fears that the Palestinian Authority may be teetering on the brink of collapse because of a lack of funding, as Israel withholds taxes and donor aid stalls.

The PA has repeatedly asked for foreign donations, claiming it is on the verge of collapse due to a worsening financial crisis.

While blaming Israel for the PA’s financial woes, its chairman Abbas continues to spend six percent of the PA’s annual budget to pay $4.5 million a month to jailed terrorists and another $6.5 million to their families.

(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)




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