Greenblatt: PA has only itself to blame for economic woes

Denying PA prime minister’s claim of imminent collapse, Greenblatt says it is simply a matter of will on leadership’s part.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

Jason Greenblatt, U.S. President Donald Trump’s point man for peace negotiations, flatly rejected on Wednesday the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) claim to be on the verge of collapse.

Referring to PA Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh’s interview that day in The New York Times, he tweeted, “PM Shtayyeh is wrong, the PA isn’t ‘in a collapsing situation,’ the PA caused the situation. Time for the PA to step-up & take responsibility for their people & the economy. The PA can’t continue to blame the US & everyone else for a situation they caused.”

Shtayyeh had told the paper that the PA’s financial problems were due to Israel’s February move to uphold its law to keep back from the PA the amount of money it pays terrorists and their families (the Pay to Slay Law). However, this is only some $12 million of the $100 million per month that the Jewish state regularly transfers to the PA from Palestinians’ withheld taxes and tariffs.

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It was a Palestinian decision to then reject all the tax funds it receives from Israel, which is a hefty portion of its annual budget.

Since the PA made this move, Greenblatt has pointed out on numerous occasions that the money President Abbas insists be paid to terrorists could and should go to the Palestinian people instead.

Last month, for example, he slammed the PA’s refusal to pay for its citizens to be treated in east Jerusalem hospitals. “Every Palestinian has the right to know that they are losing access to quality health care because the PA has decided its support to terrorists is more important,” he said.

He has also publicized that the PA’s financial woes stop short of affecting its leadership. Only hours before his latest tweet, he posted a link to an AP report on how the Palestinian Cabinet had secretly given itself perks in 2017 that included a 67 percent salary hike that was retroactive to 2014.

“While everyday Palestinians struggle due to a PA self-imposed financial crisis! Where’s the care/concern about the people?” he said.