Arab Media Report: Abbas Rejects $1 Billion in Exchange for Not Taking Israel to ICC
Arab media reported Wednesday that PA President Mahmoud Abbas turned down $1 billion in exchange for not going to the International Criminal Court (ICC) to accuse Israel of war crimes. The reports do not include mention of the source of the supposed offer.
Quoting an unnamed Fatah official, the report from the Al Mayadeen channel said that Abbas was offered the money to solve the PA’s financial crisis. The official also said that similar tactics were used with late President Yasser Arafat but that both he and Abbas did not bend to such outside pressure.
Anonymous pro-Israel blogger Elder of Ziyon raised issue with the veracity of the report, writing, “The story is almost certainly bogus and deliberately planted to make Abbas sound like a strong leader. It seems very unlikely that any ‘international party’ would throw a billion dollars at the PA for any reason, let alone to help Israel avoid a legal confrontation. Just think of the backlash against any Western government that does that!”
“More likely the story is being released to head off any protests by the PA workers who are not getting paid. This way any protesters would be painted as being anti-nationalist or even Zionist.”
At present, the PA is suffering a deficit that exceeds $1 billion in its general budget. The government has said it does not know when December’s half salary will be paid, adding that it needs $150 million each month to pay employee salaries.
Israel has expressed fears that following the PA’s upgrade to non-member state observer status at the UN in November the ICC could potentially bring action against the Jewish state on behalf of the Palestinians.