Israel is attempting to ratchet up pressure against tomorrow’s historic signing of a reconciliation pact between Hamas and Fatah in Cairo. It has announced it will begin withholding $90-million per month in taxes which it collects on behalf of the PA, which is in violation of international agreements it has signed to pass this revenue directly on to the Palestinians. Israel’s argument that the funds, which now go to the PA, would somehow end up in the hands of Hamas is ridiculous considering that Fatah currently runs the PA, and even the transitional government which will take over for the next year will contain solely independent figures with no formal loyalties to either party.
No, this is pure payback. It is akin to the Israeli siege on Gaza which is claimed as a counter-terror measure, when it is actually a form of collective punishment for the enclave’s 1.5 million people for choosing the wrong horse in the last election. If Israel thinks that withholding $90 million will get the Palestinians’ attention or force it to do Israel’s bidding, this thinking is daft. The Palestinians are focussed on creating a state and Israel is foccused on what it can do to impoverish them. There seems to be a major disconnect in the two positions.
Bibi is off on a major European junket at which he will pitch England and France on the jeopardy into which the new unity government will throw not just the Middle East, but the entire world. That’s right. Just as Iran wants to destroy not just Israel but Jews worldwide, so Hamas’ entrance into such a government will endanger the entire world (somehow). France’s Sarkozy has let Bibi know even before his arrival that anything he can will likely be futile. His government announced that unless there is a marked shift in the dynamics, France would be supporting a Palestinian state come September.
Looks like Bibi’s trip is likely to fizzle even before it starts.
Three brave Israeli Palestinian MKs were invited by Egypt to participate in the signing of the unity pact and they are in Cairo now. When they return, the far right Knesset bloc will no doubt have their heads, calling them traitors and the lot.