Israeli Minister: Israel Must Stop Serving as ATM for Palestinian Terror

Israel’s education minister said Israel must stop transferring tax payments to the Palestinian Authority following its move towards unity with the Hamas terror group.

Minister of Education Naftali Bennett, a member of the Security Cabinet, on Tuesday demanded that the cabinet immediately vote to stop the transfer of taxes Israeli collects on behalf of the Palestinian Authority (PA) after its move towards unity with the Hamas terror group as well as its ascension to Interpol last week, a move Israel viewed as diplomatic belligerence on the Palestinians’ behalf.

“Israel should cease to serve as an ATM for terrorism,” Bennett stated, explaining that the reconciliation isn’t about Palestinian unity, “it’s about Abu Mazen [PA head Mahmoud Abbas] joining forces with a murderous terror group.”

“Transferring funds to the Hamas government is like transferring funds from Israel to ISIS [the Islamic State terror group]. We will receive missiles [fired by Hamas] in return for those funds,” Bennett warned.

Israel, which collects taxes for the PA as part of the Oslo Peace Accords, has frozen PA assets several times in the past in retaliation for anti-Israel actions.

Bennett said that Israel should present three demands before transferring the funds: that Hamas recognize Israel, that it return the bodies of two IDF soldiers it has in its possession and that the PA cease to pay salaries to terrorists serving time in Israeli prisons.

Bennett was remarking on the visit by PA Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah in the Gaza Strip on Monday for the first time since 2014, as the PA and its rival, the Hamas terror group which rules Gaza, initiated the first steps in forming a unity government.

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Hamdallah’s visit is the first symbolic move towards transferring custodianship of the coastal territory from Hamas to the PA.

This is by far the most ambitious attempt at Palestinian reconciliation since Hamas violently seized power of the coastal strip from Fatah in 2007, leaving the Palestinians torn between rival governments. Hamas has ruled Gaza, while Abbas’ party has controlled autonomous enclaves in the Judea and Samaria area.

There was no immediate comment from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

By: World Israel News Staff