It would appear that the US administration is seeking to place as much political pressure on Israel as possible as Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu continues to defy the White House; planning to address Congress in March.
In one of the more recent shouts against Israel, US Secretary of State John Kerry announced the administration fears that due to Israel’s decision to withhold PA (Palestinian Authority) tax funds, the PA may collapse. The Israeli decision was in response to continue and insistent PA unilateral moves, such as turning to the United Nations for membership and threats to take its case against Israel to the International Criminal Court in The Hague.
Israel froze 500 million NIS back in January in response to Abu Mazen’s insistence on turning to the international court. The PA leader is seeking to build a war crimes case against Israel.
Israel and the international community have repeated told the PA that the disputes remaining between the PA and Israel must be resolved at a negotiating table and they cannot be resolved by either side unilaterally. Mr. Kerry however prefers to ignore Abu Mazen’s actions, those actions that compelled Israel to halt the tax funds.
State Department Spokeswoman Jen Psaki warned that the administration fear the PA is on the verge of imminent collapse if the funds are not transferred by Israel soon, which she pointed out Israel is obligated to do under the 1993 Oslo Agreements.
Interestingly, after the cabinet announced its decision, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin spoke out against the move, citing it will not benefit Israel.
Psaki released a worrisome statement that the situation in the region could become “dire”, explaining PA officials have threatened to disband as early as March.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu spoke with reporters on Sunday, 3 Adar, at the start of the weekly cabinet meeting. He addressed the threats facing Israel today. “Today the Cabinet will be briefed on the security challenges developing around us, first and foremost Iran’s attempt to increase its foothold on Israel’s borders even as it works to arm itself with nuclear weapons. Alongside Iran’s direct guidance of Hezbollah’s actions in the north and Hamas’ in the south, Iran is trying to also to develop a third front on the Golan Heights via the thousands of Hezbollah fighters who are in southern Syria and over which Iran holds direct command. The fact that Iran is continuing its murderous terrorism that knows no borders and which embraces the region and the world has, to our regret, not prevented the international community from continuing to talk with Iran about a nuclear agreement that will allow it to build the industrial capacity to develop nuclear weapons.
“It is astonishing that even after the recent IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) report determined that Iran is continuing to hide the military components of its nuclear program, the nuclear talks are with it are proceeding. Not only are they continuing, there is an increased effort to reach a nuclear agreement in the coming days and weeks. Therefore, the coming month is critical for the nuclear talks between Iran and the major powers because a framework agreement is liable to be signed that will allow Iran to develop the nuclear capabilities that threaten our existence. The agreement that is being formulated between Iran and the major powers is dangerous for Israel and therefore I will go to the US next week in order to explain to the American Congress, which could influence the fate of the agreement, why this agreement is dangerous for Israel, the region and the entire world.”
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)