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Monday, January 05, 2015

State Department, Rivlin slam Netanyahu for freezing 'Palestinian' funds

State Department spokeswoman Psaki and Israeli President Reuven Rivlin have slammed the Netanyahu government for freezing funds transfers to the 'Palestinian Authority' in retaliation for the 'Palestinians' joining the International Criminal Court.
"This step is one that raises tensions as others do," State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said, referring to the freeze on revenue transfers to the Palestinian Authority.
The PA regularly fails to stand by its agreements, and owes Israel staggering sums, including over 1.4 billion shekels (over $360 million) in unpaid electric bills.
The PA has responded with intransigence, with onetime Palestinian Arab negotiator Saeb Erekat claiming to AFP Saturday that the move itself constitutes a "war crime."
I can't think of any reason why that would be a war crime. Here's Rivlin.
At a closed meeting of more than 30 Israeli ambassadors to Europe, held at the President's Residence in Jerusalem, Rivlin criticized both the PA's unilateral moves and Netanyahu's response, calling it damaging to Israel. 
Two envoys who attended the meeting told Haaretz that "President Rivlin said the Palestinian Authority's application to the International Criminal Court in The Hague is an attempt by [PA Chairman Mahmoud] Abbas to evade direct negotiations with Israel and force it into an agreement on its [the PA's] terms, without any Palestinian concessions." 
Rivlin further criticized the actions of the Palestinians, calling them a violation of the Oslo Accords, and arguing that the Israeli government should respond - albeit with careful considerations to aid Israel's interests, not harm them. 
To that end, he noted, "freezing the transfer of Palestinian tax money is not beneficial to us and not beneficial to them." 
"The Palestinians sustain themselves with these funds which also keep the Palestinian Authority functioning. It is in Israel's interest that the PA will function," Rivlin added. 
"I was a lawyer until the age of 48, but I would never file a claim for compensation that would end up hurting me," the two ambassadors quoted Rivlin as saying.
I'd like to hear whether Rivlin has any other suggested responses. If he doesn't, he should sit and be quiet. 

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