Israeli FM: World should focus on stopping Palestinian support for terrorism

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Incoming minister of Foreign Affairs Eli Cohen at a ceremony at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Jerusalem, January 2, 2023. Photo by Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90 *** Local Caption *** ?? ???? ??? ??? ?????? ???? ???

Eli Cohen spoke after more than 90 countries demanded the “immediate” reversal of Israel’s punitive measures against the P.A.

 Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen on Tuesday said countries should focus their energies on stopping rampant incitement by the Palestinian Authority that manifests in terrorism.

The comment comes after more than 90 countries signed a letter, published on Monday, demanding the “immediate” reversal of Israel’s punitive measures against the P.A.

“Meaningless statements and signatures will not stop us from making the right decisions that will protect our citizens and ensure our future,” Cohen wrote in a Twitter post. “The interest of all the countries of the world should be to stop the incitement of the Palestinian Authority, which encourages terrorism and pays terrorists who murder Jews.

“The State of Israel is first and foremost committed to Israel’s security,” he added.

The U.N. General Assembly late last month approved a resolution calling on the International Court of Justice to “render urgently an advisory opinion” on Israel’s “prolonged occupation, settlement and annexation of Palestinian territory.”

In response to the P.A.’s ongoing “political and legal war” against the Jewish state, the Israeli Security Cabinet decided, among other measures, to withhold tax and tariff revenue collected on behalf of and transferred to the P.A., in an amount equal to that which Ramallah paid to terrorists and their families in 2022 under its “pay-for-slay” policy.

The letter released Monday was signed by representatives of the Arab and Islamic countries, including Egypt, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Morocco and Sudan, along with Western and other nations such as Germany, France, Italy, Ireland, Sweden, Norway, Cyprus, Japan, Brazil, Argentina and Mexico.

In line with the Security Cabinet decision, Jerusalem last week transferred 138.8 million shekels ($39.5 million) of revenue collected for the P.A. to Israeli victims of terrorism and their families.

At a press conference, Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich said, “We promised to fix this, and today we are correcting an injustice. This is an important day for morality, for justice and for the fight against terrorism. There is no greater justice than offsetting the funds of the Authority, which acts to support terrorism, and transferring them to the families of the victims of terrorism.”

P.A. Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh said the punitive measures would “promptly lead to [the P.A.’s] collapse.”

In an interview with Haaretz, Shtayyeh described the Security Cabinet decision as “another nail in the Palestinian Authority’s coffin, unless there is immediate intervention by the international community, namely the [Biden] administration in Washington and Arab countries.”

 

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