Civilian and economic cooperation between Jerusalem and Ramallah is now banned by the Israeli leader following the Palestinian bid for recognition at the U.N.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has banned government ministries from continuing civilian and economic cooperation with the Palestinian Authority, which had been ongoing for many years, following the breakdown of the U.S.-brokered peace talks and, in particular, Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas’ submission of applications to join 15 international organizations and conventions.
At Sunday’s weekly Cabinet meeting, commenting on the PA’s unilateral move at the U.N., in violation of the peace process, Netanyahu warned that Israel would take “unilateral steps on our part,” which could include sanctions on the PA.
Cabinet members, government-ministry directors and other senior officials are no longer permitted to meet their Palestinian counterparts.
“According to Voice of Israel public radio, these measures include a suspension of high-level contacts between ministers and CEOs, and any contacts with the PA will now be led by the Coordinator of Government Activities in Judea and Samaria, Maj. Gen. Yoav Mordechai,” Israel National News reports.
“It was also decided to freeze the implementation of 3G cellular technology in PA-assigned areas and stop the transfer into Gaza of communications equipment belonging to the PA cellular phone company Watania,” INN adds.
An all-night meeting between Israeli and Palestinian negotiating teams last week failed to revive the peace talks.
“On Passover, we need to free ourselves from mental enslavement”
On Tuesday, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, at a drill with the IDF’s elite Golani Brigade, commented that the PA participates in peace talks only to receive, and to give nothing in return.
“I’m not a prophet of doom, I’m a realist,” he said. “Unfortunately, on this issue, I find myself saying repeatedly, ‘I told you so.’ I wish the situation were different.”
“Every time, the Palestinians run away and try to blame us,” Ya’alon stated. “On Passover, we need to free ourselves from mental enslavement to irrelevant concepts on the Israeli-Palestinian matter.”
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry indirectly blamed Israel for the breakdown of peace talks, saying on Tuesday:
“Israel didn’t release the Palestinian prisoners on the day they were supposed to be freed, and another day passed, and another day, and then another 700 settlement units were announced in Jerusalem, and ‘poof’…that was sort of the moment.”
Israel cancelled the release of a fourth batch of terrorists from prison last week due to a lack of concessions from Ramallah, most notably a refusal to recognize the Jewish state.
Kerry, for his part, had opposed Israel’s demand that the PA recognize Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish People as a pre-condition for negotiations.
The U.S. “supports the notion of Israel being defined as a Jewish state,” he stated last month. But “when it happens, and how it happens, has to be part of the negotiations. It’s not going to happen in the beginning.”
White House Spokesperson Jen Psaki denied that Kerry put the onus on Israel for the collapse of the peace talks.
“Secretary Kerry was clear when he said that both sides took unhelpful steps, and at no point did he take part in the blame game,” Psaki said. “More than that, Kerry clarified that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made courageous decisions throughout the process.”
Terror Victims Spokesperson Slams Kerry
Almagor Terror Victims Association head Meir castigated Kerry for his comments on the cancelled prisoner release, Ynet reports.
“Freeing the killers of Jews is ‘poof’ to the one who views Jewish lives as worth no more than ‘poof’ and air, but not to the bereaved families and not to the Jewish people who do not want to see that Jewish blood loses its worth such a short time after the Holocaust in which the lives of our grandparents were no more than ‘poof’!” Indor declared, according to Ynet.
Matt Brooks, executive director of the Republican Jewish Coalition in the U.S., called Kerry’s comments “outrageous.”
“Secretary Kerry’s testimony today is a troubling consequence of the Obama administration’s assumption that increasing the pressure on Israel will bring the Palestinians back to a process they have repeatedly rejected,” Brooks declared.
Author: Atara Beck, Staff Writer, United with Israel