Erekat: Israeli ‘terrorism’ same as Islamic State

Top Palestinian negotiator says settlement activity must be curbed, just like atrocities in Syria and Iraq

Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat (Miriam Alster/Flash90/File)
Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat (Miriam Alster/Flash90/File)

Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat on Monday equated the atrocities committed by the Islamic State group in Syria and Iraq to Israel’s activity in the West Bank, asserting that both amounted to acts of “terrorism,” Palestinian media reported.

“There is no difference between the terrorism practiced by the [Islamic State] group led by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and Israel’s terrorism,” Erekat said during a festival in Jericho, according to the Palestinian Ma’an News Agency.

“Ending settlement activities is a prerequisite for eliminating terrorism.”

Erekat went on to criticize Israel’s decision Saturday to freeze the transfer of tax revenues to the PA. Israel imposed the freeze after the PA signed documents to join the International Criminal Court in the Hague, and threatened further retaliatory action.

The freeze involves half a billion shekels in tax revenue, or about $127 million. The tax revenues make up two-thirds of the Palestinian Authority’s annual budget, excluding foreign aid.

Israeli officials suggested on Sunday that the tax freeze was only the first of a series of punitive measures it could take against the Palestinian government.

Erekat maintained that such threats and actions would not break the Palestinians’ spirit, nor deter them from striving to establish an independent state, Ma’an reported.

The Palestinians moved to join the International Criminal Court last week after suffering a defeat in the UN Security Council at the end of December, which rejected a resolution that called on Israel to pull out of the West Bank and East Jerusalem within three years.

On Thursday, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas asked the ICC to investigate Israel for war crimes allegedly committed during the 50-day war with Hamas and other Gaza terror groups last summer.

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