Speaking Sunday at the UN's conference of donors to the Palestinian Authority, Deputy Foreign Minister Daniel Ayalon warned that while Israel supports economic assistance to the PA now, that is liable to change within the week.
As he put it, "Future assistance and cooperation could be severely and irreparably compromised if the Palestinian leadership continues on its path of essentially acting in contravention of all signed agreements which also regulate existing economic relations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority."
Ayalon's position is eminently reasonable. Unfortunately, it contradicts utterly the official position of the Government of Israel.
The government's position was transmitted on Friday to the same donor conference that Ayalon was participating in. According to the government document, "Israel calls for ongoing international support for the PA budget and development projects that will contribute to the growth of a vibrant private sector, which will provide the PA an expanded base for generating internal revenue."
Israel's move was reportedly championed by the Defense Ministry and the IDF senior brass, which reportedly adamantly opposes cutting off any aid to the PA, including aid to the US-trained and financed Palestinian army in Judea and Samaria. As The Jerusalem Post reported on Sunday, senior Defense Ministry officials argue that an aid cutoff is liable to lead to the PA's collapse and PA employees - which comprise the majority of Palestinian workers - may become violent.
As one Defense Ministry senior official told the paper, "It is important that we retain financial stability, even after their unilateral moves. Stopping money transfers could lead to a financial crisis which could lead to a violent escalation."
In other words, the Defense Ministry argues that if the donor countries stop paying off the Palestinian militias - including the US-trained and funded Palestinian army - then their supposedly moderate forces will turn to the terror business to support themselves.
Aside from being strategically insane, this position bespeaks an unjustifiable unwillingness on the part of the leftist-dominated Defense Ministry to understand the basic nature of the Palestinian cause and what it requires from Israel.
Since the IDF and the Foreign Ministry and the rest of the government bureaucracy embraced the PLO as Israel's "peace partner" 18 years ago, they have been operating on the assumption that the PLO and its spinoffs - Fatah and the PA - are interested in reaching a peace deal with Israel. But this has never been the case.
Caroline B. Glick is the senior Middle East fellow at the Center for Security Policy in Washington, D.C., and the deputy managing editor of The Jerusalem Post, where this article first appeared.
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