Rivlin Blasts Netanyahu for Freezing PA Funds

At meeting with ambassadors, Rivlin criticized PA for applying to join the ICC, while chastising Netanyahu for freezing funds.

Hezki Baruch, Cynthia Blank,

Reuven Rivlin
Reuven Rivlin
Flash 90

President Reuven Rivlin showed his opposition Monday evening to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's decision to freeze Israel's tax funds payments to the Palestinian Authority. 

Netanyahu made the decision, which was publicized Saturday night, in retaliation for the PA's official request to join the International Criminal Court (ICC).

A political source claimed that the decision to freeze half a billion shekels ($127 million) constituted the Israeli response to the PA's unilateral moves. 

At a closed meeting of more than 30 Israeli ambassadors to Europe, held at the President's Residence in Jerusalem, Rivlin criticized both the PA's unilateral moves and Netanyahu's response, calling it damaging to Israel. 

Two envoys who attended the meeting told Haaretz that "President Rivlin said the Palestinian Authority's application to the International Criminal Court in The Hague is an attempt by [PA Chairman Mahmoud] Abbas to evade direct negotiations with Israel and force it into an agreement on its [the PA's] terms, without any Palestinian concessions." 

Rivlin further criticized the actions of the Palestinians, calling them a violation of the Oslo Accords, and arguing that the Israeli government should respond - albeit with careful considerations to aid Israel's interests, not harm them. 

To that end, he noted, "freezing the transfer of Palestinian tax money is not beneficial to us and not beneficial to them." 

"The Palestinians sustain themselves with these funds which also keep the Palestinian Authority functioning. It is in Israel's interest that the PA will function," Rivlin added. 

"I was a lawyer until the age of 48, but I would never file a claim for compensation that would end up hurting me," the two ambassadors quoted Rivlin as saying.