Israel’s Finance Minister, Moshe Kahlon, will implement economic measures helping the Palestinian Authority in an attempt to improve the security situation in Israel.
Kahlon met last week with the Palestinian Finance and Planning Minister, Shukry Bishara, who informed him the PA has a deficit of NIS 1.5 billion and is on the verge of economic collapse. Israel will be releasing to them NIS 500 million in tax revenues that have been withheld until now.
Kahlon told Bishara that Israel expects the Palestinians to stop the incitement on PA media and for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to condemn the terror attacks. This was explicitly expressed as an expectation and not an ultimatum.
As part of the plan, Israel will issue thousands of additional work permits for Palestinians to work in Israel, as well as reduce commissions Israel charges from the Palestinians.
There is also an intention to create new study and internship opportunities for Palestinian high-tech entrepreneurs and engineers. Palestinian construction companies and contractors will be allowed to operate in Israel. Presently, Palestinians are issued permits to enter Israel as day-laborers employed by Israeli companies only. Palestinian doctors will also be invited to train in Israeli hospitals.
Kahlon decided on this approach after consulting with Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon. This plan comes from the belief that improving the economic condition of the Palestinians and creating an atmosphere of hope will reduce the current violence. It is also believed that these measures will help Israel find favor with Western countries, and especially the United States.
If the prime minister approves the measure, the plan will be presented to US President Barack Obama and US Secretary of State John Kerry.
“Peace did not break out,” Kahlon said on Thursday. “It’s just one drop in the ocean – but it’s an important drop.”
Deals like have always been a part of diplomacy. In Genesis, chapter 14, Abraham saved his nephew, Lot, thereby releasing the vanquished King of Sodom and returning him to his throne. The King of Sodom, an evil man, offered to give Abraham all of the material wealth that had been released. Abraham’s response to the evil leader was, “I will not take a thread or a sandal thong or anything that is yours, for fear you would say, ‘I have made Abram rich.’ Abraham chose to distance himself from evil entirely, even in economic ways which seemed harmless.