Europe, Finally, Tells the Palestinians That Enough’s Enough
For six months, the Palestinian Authority (PA) has refused to accept tax revenues that Israel owes them under existing agreements, ever since Israel said it would extend sovereignty over areas of Judea and Samaria. The amount being held by Israel is now up to $750 million.
Since then, the PA has been under severe financial pressure, paying workers a percentage of their salaries. But Mahmoud Abbas has been insisting that he doesn’t want to cooperate with Israel — even to accept money owed.
In order to make ends meet, Abbas has been asking the EU for loans to fund his budget.
Finally, after doing everything the PA has demanded of them for years, the EU has had enough.
The EU, France, Germany, the U.K. and Norway made clear that they consider annexation to now be off the table, and thus the Palestinians should accept the $750 million in revenues now held by the Israeli Ministry of Finance.
After lower-level pressure on the Palestinians didn’t bear fruit, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell called Abbas last Wednesday.
He repeated the same message in the call, European diplomats say: Until the Palestinians resume the acceptance of tax revenues from Israel, the EU will not provide new loans or other financial assistance.
Borrell also urged Abbas to relaunch security and civilian coordination with Israel, but Abbas was noncommittal, the diplomats say.
Some Palestinian officials around Abbas think his decision to suspend all ties with Israel and the U.S. is self-defeating.
But Abbas has so far fended off that pressure. He’s betting that Joe Biden will win in November and bring with him a much different set of policies toward the Israeli-Palestinian issue.
This is another game changer. After the Arab world has shown willingness to criticize the Palestinian leadership publicly, the EU is starting to move in the same direction.
Mahmoud Abbas is acting like he always has. He’s demanding money he doesn’t deserve, and he is waiting for a more palatable political environment to help him out.
Meanwhile, the PLO is getting chummy with terrorists from Hamas and Islamic Jihad in the interests of “unity.” Abbas, missing the way the wind is blowing, remains tone deaf and making the wrong decisions.
For the first time, Europe is telling the Palestinians that they have to take responsibility for their decisions.
This is absolutely amazing to see.