U.S. special envoy Jason Greenblatt blasted the Palestinian Authority and the United Nations for aiding and abetting the Palestinian financial payments towards terrorists and their families.
In a closed-door U.N. Security Council meeting on Friday, instigated by Indonesia and Kuwait, Greenblatt defended Israel’s choice last month to reduce Palestinian tax revenues due to the P.A.’s “pay to slay” initiative, which has been a primary obstacle in peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, sources told The Washington Free Beacon.
The Trump administration’s Mideast peace plan, which Greenblatt and others have been crafting for almost the past couple years, is expected to be released after Israeli elections on April 9.
“The time has come to make it clear that the Palestinian Authority, if it aspires to the status of a government, it must behave like one,” reportedly said Greenblatt. “It is unacceptable for the Palestinian Authority to pay these terrorists and their families a reward for criminal acts.”
The United States was the only Security Council member to back the Israeli move while the rest called on the Jewish state to unfreeze and allocate the remaining tax revenues.
“It is entirely inappropriate to focus on Israel as the source of this crisis,” said Greenblatt. “It is the Palestinian Authority that has chosen to manufacture the current crisis.”
“The Palestinian Authority is refusing to accept over $150 million in revenue to protest the fact that $11 million is being withheld, only to make a political point,” he added. “Does that sound like a governing authority that is concerned with the welfare of its people?”
Senior Palestinian official Saeb Erekat slammed Greenblatt’s remarks as “patronizing and disingenuous,” and defended the payments.
“The welfare of thousands of families has now become at tool for the Israeli government and the Trump administration to dehumanize Palestinians, while whitewashing the effects of the Israeli occupation over millions of Palestinian lives,” wrote Erekat on Sunday in Haaretz.
“Such payments are a social responsibility; they also contribute to the costs of reinserting released prisoners back into society, among other important considerations,” he added.
Erekat also said that “the Palestinian leadership has taken a position of principle by not accepting Israeli piracy. We either receive all the money that under signed agreements is legitimately ours, or we won’t accept it. No step will be taken that may legitimate such gangster-style tactics of the Israeli occupation.”