Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas accused Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Saturday of providing Hamas with the money with which it funds attacks against Israelis — and leading West Bank Palestinians to “pay the price.”
In a speech in Ramallah, Abbas said: “Netanyahu personally takes money and gives it to Hamas. What does that mean? [Hamas] sends weapons, equipment and funds here.”
“We seized 90% of what they sent here. The other 10% was used up in the latest operations that took place,” added Abbas, referring to recent West Bank terror attacks that Israel has also blamed on the terrorist organization. “Hamas has acknowledged it undertook these operations. Israel also has acknowledged Hamas carried them out. And we know Hamas did them. So they [Israel] give them money and we pay the price.”
By money paid to Hamas, Abbas was referring to Israel allowing millions of dollars in Qatari funds to enter the Strip in monthly installments, as part of an unofficial truce between Israel and the Gaza-based terror group.
Israel has blamed a recent increase in West Bank terror attacks on Hamas and has boosted its activity in the West Bank and increased restrictions on Palestinians as it hunts for the terrorists in those attacks.
Abbas has long been angered by Israel’s overtures to Hamas in Gaza, as he seeks to economically squeeze the Gaza group into relinquishing power.
Hamas and the PA have been at odds since the terror group violently took control of the Gaza Strip in 2007. A number of reconciliation agreements between them have failed to patch up their differences.
In August Abbas warned there could be no two separate entities ruling Palestinian lands, stating that if the PA is not handed complete control of the Gaza Strip, Hamas will have to take full responsibility for the territory.
He has repeatedly threatened to cut all funds to the Strip if Hamas rejects ongoing reconciliation attempts.
But on Saturday Abbas also stated that the PA will “not allow Hamas to be accused of being a terror organization.
“Hamas is part of the Palestinian people,” he said. “We disagree with Hamas on almost every issue, and they create anarchy in the West Bank, but these matters are between ourselves as Palestinians. We will not accept condemnation of Hamas.”
This month has seen two West Bank shootings that claimed the lives of two Israeli soldiers and a baby, amid a general uptick in violence in the West Bank.
Two Israeli soldiers were killed and another was critically injured in the Givat Assaf attack on December 13. Several Israelis were injured in the attack at the Ofra Junction, on December 9, including a seven-months pregnant woman, whose baby — delivered in emergency surgery by doctors hours after the attack — died four days later.
Meanwhile Channel 10 news reported Saturday that the Israeli government is considering a PA request to make changes to economic arrangements signed in 1994 between Jerusalem and the Palestine Liberation Organization as part of the Oslo Accords, due to PA assertions that the so-called Paris Protocol is unfair towards the Palestinians.
There were no details on the specific Palestinian complaints.