A few weeks ago, Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas announced that the PA and Hamas had agreed to lay aside their differences and join in a new unity government. Now, they plan to announce it tomorrow and provide details. What will it look like?
Abbas said it will consist only of apolitical technocrats, renounce violence, and recognize Israel’s right to exist. Wow! What a change. He also said the new government will be headed by current prime minister, Rami Hamdallah, a British-educated university president.
Of course, that’s been the position of the PA for many years now, but not that of Hamas. It’s Charter claims all of “the land of Palestine” and seems to call for the destruction of Israel. Many people will not accept this new Palestinian government until Hamas changes its Charter.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanayahu is one. He’s demanding that the world community reject this Palestinian change. And he threatened to impose hardship on Palestinians if it happens. What could that be? Israel collects taxes for the Palestinians in the West Bank and gives it to the PA. Israel has in the past temporarily whithheld that payment to the PA. Netanyahu could do that again.
Where does that leave the U.S.? It and the European Union (EU) are the Palestinians’ biggest donors, giving them hundreds of millions of U.S. dollars per year. Both say they want to see what the new Palestinian unity government looks like and thus give it a chance if it does indeed renounce terrorism and recognize Israel’s right to exist. Netanyahu doesn’t like that.
But the U.S. gives Israel $3 billion dollars per year and has been doing so for several decades. I don’t like that since Israel has continued for decades to defy the U.S. demands to disallow Jewish settlement activity in the West Bank, which has always harmed the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians. If this new unity Palestinian government renounces violence and recognizes Israel, yet Israel stops giving Palestinians their due tax money, I think its time for the U.S. to start reducing its huge financial support of Israel.