President Joe Biden is reportedly putting pressure on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to transfer tax money to the Palestinian Authority (PA) that Israel collects on its behalf, but which it has suspended since the terror attacks of October 7.
Axios.com’s Barak Ravid reported Thursday that Biden had a “difficult conversation” last weekend with Netanyahu. He explained:
Israel’s far-right ultranationalist Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich in October decided to suspend the transfer of all of the tax revenue funds after the Hamas terrorist attack.
But the Israeli government said that it would transfer all the funds except for those it says go to Hamas-run Gaza.
The PA, however, has refused to accept a partial transfer of the funds, raising concerns in the Biden administration about a potential economic collapse of the Palestinian Authority.
The PA has failed to condemn the October 7 terror attacks, and Palestinian media have continued to spread anti-Israel hatred. Moreover, the PA continues to pay stipends to terrorists in Israeli prisons, and to the families of terrorists killed by Israel.
However, the risk of not funding the PA is that it could collapse, leading to anarchy in the West Bank that could present new risks for Israel. While the PA does not cooperate fully with Israel on security matters, it does prevent the eruption of open conflict.
Biden has supported Israel in its war against Hamas, but has also made Israel’s task more difficult by criticizing Israel, pushing it to supply humanitarian aid that is ultimately controlled by Hamas, and pressing for the PA to return to Gaza when the war ends.
The U.S. has also allowed Iran to access billions of dollars in ransom for detained Americans, even as Iran funds and arms Hamas and other terror groups. The Biden administration continues — in theory — to pursue a nuclear deal with the Iranian regime. It also refuses to attack the Iranian-backed Houthis in Yemen, who are interfering with global shipping in the Red Sea, and it also putting pressure on Israel not to respond more decisively to attacks from Lebanon by the Iranian-backed terror group Hezbollah.
U.S. taxpayer dollars are barred from being spent directly on the PA, thanks to the Taylor Force Act, signed by then-President Donald Trump in 2019, which prohibits funding the Palestinian government as long as it continues paying terrorist subsidies.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the new biography, Rhoda: ‘Comrade Kadalie, You Are Out of Order’. He is also the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.