Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday called for international pressure on the Palestinians to stop incitement and halt stipend payments to the families of terrorists, in what he called “the first test of peace.”
Speaking to Fox News’s Sean Hannity ahead of US President Donald Trump’s meeting with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Washington on May 3, Netanyahu said that while Israeli leaders are “held accountable for every word… in the case of Abbas it’s like he lives in a different universe. He can say ‘I want peace’ to Western leaders, ‘I want peace, I’m willing to recognize Israel,’ but then to his own people he says the very opposite.”
Netanyahu called for greater pressure on the Palestinian leadership to make steps for peace.
Netanyahu said “the first test of peace is to say to them ‘Hey, you want peace? Prove it. Confront terrorism, stop rewarding terrorism, stop paying terrorists. And don’t finagle the books.’ What they do is [say], ‘Okay, we won’t pay directly, we’ll pay it to somebody else and they’ll pay it to the terrorists’ in a sort of circular fashion. No. Come clean on this.”
In an apparent message to Trump ahead of the May meeting, Netanyahu said, “I think the only chance that this will change is if there’s pressure brought to them to make this real change.” If such a demand were put forward, he added, “that could make for a turning point.”
The PA is already infuriated. Hamas continues to demand that PA President Mahmoud Abbas and his people, or Qatar, pay for the diesel fuel that gives Hamas electricity. This, despite the fact that Hamas collects taxes from the residents of the Gaza Strip, and all the money goes into its coffers.
But then, this is Gaza, where anything is possible — including stealing residents’ money by imposing new taxes on top of old taxes, and manufacturing a humanitarian crisis in order to blame it on the Palestinian Authority and on Israel.
Hamas has a well-oiled policy of screwing things up, then crying foul. It is astonishing to watch it funnel tens of millions of dollars each year to its military wing, its rocket makers and its tunnel diggers, in pursuit of its relentless goal of destroying Israel, while simultaneously pleading that it cannot pay for water or fuel. Almost every day this past week, Hamas has organized marches of thousands of furious residents, who burn photographs of Abbas and of his prime minister, Rami Hamdallah, together with Israeli flags, of course.
Anyone who dares wonder aloud about Hamas’s cynical mismanagement is asking for trouble. A man named Mahmoud el-Zak, who is not a member of Fatah, was arrested and beaten this week. His crime? He dared to write about Hamas consuming electricity in Gaza without being willing to pay for it. The deterrent message was clear — it’s safer for Gazans to blame the PA and Israel.