Israel to block Palestinians millions
Israel is due to hold general elections on 9th April 2019. In Israel the tendency will be to rouse the electorate against the Palestinians so as to win the support of the electorate through fear and sheer ignorance. Expect the far light lobbies in the United States of America to use all their weapons to keep the political agenda on the right.
Israel Prime minister is courting the votes on the right and the far right. He has already announced measures which will hurt the Palestinians. Israel has said last week that it will 138 million dollars in the transfers to the Palestinian Authority (PA) utilized to support the families whose close relatives are languishing in Israel’s prisons because of their struggle against the Israelis. The fund is also used to support the families of the martyrs but the Israelis are more cunning in their public relationship as to why they are doing it. They say that they are withholding the tax transfers because the money is paid to Palestinians involved in attacks against the Israeli army and the settlers. What Israel will not say is that the withholding of funds is against the Oslo Accord which President Clinton was instrumental to obtain the support of all parties.
Last Sunday the Israeli’s security cabinet said it was implementing a law which was passed in 2018. In June/July 2018 the Knesset (Israel’s Parliament) voted the law with 87 members of Parliament supporting the legislation. Only 15 members of Parliament voted against the law. The fund benefits roughly around 35000 families of Palestinians.
The percentage of the fund in relation to PA’s budget last year was around seven percent. The total fund is around 330 million dollars. Those wounded during demonstrations benefit also from the fund.
Where does the money come from?
As per the Oslo Accord the money comes from taxes which Israel has agreed to collect on behalf of the PA. It is apposite to note that the Oslo Accord, also known as the Oslo agreement, is an accord signed between Israel and the PLO (Palestine Liberation Organisation which springs to mind the great Yasser Arafat – one of my childhood heroes) on 15th September 1993 with the aim of bringing an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The Oslo Accord 1.Was signed in Washington in 1993 and the Oslo Accord 2.Was signed in Taba , Egypt
in 1993. So Israel is duty bound to transfer the tax funds to the PA as outlined by a subsequent economic agreement of 1994.
The whole system is viewed by Israel as a mechanism “pay For Slay”… the PA views the system as a mini welfare system for families who have lost a breadwinner.
Is it a major setback for the PA? Yes. We must not forget that last year the United States cut all the funds for the United Nations refugees programme (see my previous articles on UNRWA).
Rami Hamdallah the Prime minister of the Palestinian caretaker government said the Palestinian government would be able to cope with the decision.
For the Palestinians the fund (prisoner welfare fund) is part of life under occupation. The Palestinian leadership can’t abandon this practice. In that context it is interesting to note the comments HARRY FAWCETT of Al Jazeera who said: “For the Palestinians to abandon this practice especially under Israeli pressure would be all but POLITICALLY UNTHINKABLE.’’