Monday, 30 Jan 2023 - 8 of Shevat, 5783

Israel approves punitive measures against PA in response to ‘political and legal war’

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The move is a response to the recent U.N. resolution calling on the International Court of Justice to “render urgently an advisory opinion” on the status of Judea and Samaria.

By JNS

Israel’s Security Cabinet on Thursday approved several punitive measures against the Palestinian Authority in response to what it described as Ramallah’s ongoing “political and legal war” against the Jewish state.

The move came a week after the U.N. General Assembly passed a resolution calling on the International Court of Justice to “render urgently an advisory opinion” on Israel’s “prolonged occupation, settlement and annexation of Palestinian territory.”

The Security Cabinet decided to withhold taxes and tariffs collected on behalf of and transferred to the P.A., in an amount equal to that which Ramallah paid to terrorists and their families in 2022 as part of its “pay-for-slay” policy. An additional sum of nearly $40 million was deducted from the same P.A. pool of funds, to be disbursed to Israeli victims of Palestinian terrorism.

The Knesset had previously passed legislation mandating such deductions, however, the Bennett-Lapid government repeatedly found loopholes to delay its implementation.

The Security Cabinet also placed a moratorium on Palestinian construction in Area C of Judea and Samaria, with a view to curbing illegal building, and denying VIP benefits to P.A. officials leading the “lawfare” campaign against Israel.

“The colonial occupier’s vindictive measures against the Palestinian people are a direct assault on the UNGA’s request for an advisory opinion from the ICJ on the legal standing of Israel’s illegal domination over the Palestinian people and the responsibilities of states,” the P.A. Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Saturday.

“States must ensure that Israel ceases its sanctions against the Palestinian people and submit to the rules-based international order or be prepared to receive the treatment owed to pariah states,” it added.

For his part, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that the “distorted” and “disgraceful” ICJ resolution would not obligate or restrain his government, adding: “The Jewish people is not occupying its land and is not occupying its eternal capital Jerusalem. No U.N. resolution can distort this historical truth.”

Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations said he was “overjoyed” when he heard that the U.N. Security Council was holding an emergency meeting Thursday over the “quiet, orderly, uneventful” visit of an Israeli government minister to Jerusalem’s Temple Mount.

“I figured that if this important body is meeting to discuss such a trivial matter, then we clearly achieved world peace overnight,” Gilad Erdan said, mocking the council’s decision to submit to the Palestinians’ demand for a discussion on the matter.

Erdan noted that Ben-Gvir entered through the only non-Muslim entrance to the Temple Mount at one of the limited designated times of the week for Jewish admittance, entered alone save for the security detail needed to protect him and made no attempt to pray.

He went into a lengthy history lesson about the Temple Mount and the status quo there, saying, “Israel has not harmed the status quo and has no plans to do so. The only side that is changing the status quo is the Palestinian Authority. Why? Because by turning the site into a battleground … the Palestinian Authority is making it clear that not only is Jewish prayer intolerable on the Temple Mount, but so is any Jewish presence.”

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