‘Not one shekel will be sent to Palestinian Authority,’ vows Israeli Finance Minister

The declaration came in response to the U.S. Secretary of State’s insistence that the Palestinians receive all its tax revenue, although part is used to support terrorists.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich told U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken Tuesday that he refuses to send funds to the Palestinian Authority (PA) due to its financial support of terrorists.

“We will not transfer a shekel to the Palestinian Authority that will go to the families of the Nazis in Gaza,” Smotrich said.

Although the Islamist Hamas group overthrew the PA in the Gaza Strip in 2007, Ramallah still pays the salaries of many public employees there, as well as part of the utility bills.

Smotrich was responding to Blinken’s statement during his meeting with top Israeli government members, that Israel should hand over all the tax income it collects on behalf of the PA.

After Israel declared war on Hamas following the terror organization’s invasion and slaughter of 1,200 people three months ago, Smotrich had withheld the portion sent to Gaza. In accordance with the Israeli anti-pay-for-slay law, he also withheld the sum that the PA pays to jailed Palestinians on a sliding scale, depending on how many Israelis they killed or wounded in terror attacks.

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Despite being in financial straits, the PA refused to accept the partial amount, saying it was all or nothing.

The U.S. wants Ramallah to be economically stable, because it wants the PA to run the Gaza Strip after the war, as part of the two-state solution the Biden administration still supports, although it admits the PA, widely considered corrupt by its own citizens and a terror-supporter by Israel, must first be “revitalized.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has rejected the idea out of hand, pointing to its officials’ silence or outright praise over the October 7, 2023 massacre in which Hamas, as well as Palestinian Islamic Jihad and even ordinary Gazans committed such atrocities as burning families alive, beheading infants and raping many women and girls before murdering them.

Smotrich also pushed back against Blinken’s reiteration that “the US unequivocally rejects any proposals advocating for the resettlement of Palestinians outside of Gaza,” referring to an idea that the finance minister champions, along with many others in the nationalist-religious parties in the coalition.

“We will work to allow the opening of the gates of Gaza for the voluntary immigration of refugees as the international community did for the refugees from Syria and Ukraine,” Smotrich declared, in a reminder that the millions who fled war in those two countries were welcomed, mainly in Europe, when they escaped.

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Netanyahu told Blinken that resettlement of Gazans elsewhere, even out of their own free will, is not official Israeli policy even if part of his coalition is in favor of it.