Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Danny Danon, said Tuesday that the Palestinian Authority (PA) “should stop spending 7 percent of its annual budget on inciting and paying terrorist salaries, and instead use it to develop its infrastructure and help its people,” Ben Cohen reported in The Algemeiner.
Danon was responding to a speech by PA President Mahmoud Abbas at the United Nations in New York in which Abbas charged that Israel was an “obstruction” to the “cohesive development of all peoples” in the Middle East.
Abbas was speaking as the “State of Palestine” – a non-member observer state – assumed the chairmanship from Egypt of the UN’s largest member bloc, the G77, and China, a coalition of 134 developing nations which share economic goals.
The G77, which got its name from 77 founding members when it was created in 1964, is made up of several nations that do not recognize Israel’s right to exist, including Iran, Syria and Iraq.
“Palestine cannot be an exception,” Abbas stated in his opening speech. “We also suffer under the yoke of a foreign occupation.” The PA president went on to condemn Israel’s “colonization and occupation of the ‘State of Palestine,’” accusing the Jewish State of “obstructing cohesive development for all peoples of the region.”
Abbas’s observation resulted in a sharp rebuke from Danon.
“As the United Nations very well knows from all of the development work Israel does, Israel is not what undermines development but actually helps it,” Danon told The Algemeiner. “Instead, it is the Palestinian Authority that undermines its own capacity and development.”
The ambassador condemned the PA’s so-called “pay-to-slay” scheme under which Palestinian terrorists and their families receive generous financial rewards for murdering Israelis. “The PA should stop spending 7 percent of its annual budget on inciting and paying terrorist salaries, and instead use it to develop its infrastructure and help its people,” Danon insisted.
According to figures from the Israeli Ministry of Defense, the PA paid NIS 687 million ($198 million) to so-called “martyrs’ families fund” and NIS 550 million ($160 million) to the Palestinian Prisoners’ Club — some 7 percent of its overall budget in 2017.
In two meetings with Abbas in 2017, U.S. President Donald Trump expressed his opposition to the financial rewards scheme for Palestinian terrorists and their families.
Trump told Abbas as the two met in Bethlehem, “Peace can never take root in an environment where violence is tolerated, funded and even rewarded.” Earlier, when the two met in Washington D.C., Trump said that “no lasting peace” can be achieved between Israel and the Palestinians “unless the Palestinian leaders speak in a unified voice against incitement to violence.”
However, after meeting with U.S. officials in June 2017, Abbas refused their request to stop paying salaries to terrorists. A month earlier, an adviser to Abbas had called the U.S. request to end payments to terrorists “insane.”
The Trump administration has repeatedly criticized Abbas and the PA for blocking peace efforts, most recently over their boycott of the yet-to-be-released Middle East peace plan currently being formulated by the U.S. government.
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