Shin Bet said to again plea with PM to buck far-right ministers in order to prevent West Bank flareup

Prime Minister  Benjamin Netanyahu arrives for a Likud party meeting at the Knesset in Jerusalem on January 1, 2024. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu arrives for a Likud party meeting at the Knesset in Jerusalem on January 1, 2024. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

The Shin Bet reportedly submitted a document urgently warning Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to act in order to prevent an imminent flareup in the West Bank.

The document reported by Channel 13 comes several days after Channel 12 reported on similar warnings issued by security chiefs regarding the situation in the West Bank.

For months, the security establishment has urged Netanyahu to reverse the cabinet decisions taken after October 7 to withhold hundreds of millions in tax revenues that belong to the Palestinian Authority and block the return of some 150,000 Palestinians from work inside Israel and the settlements.

The former decision was taken as part of an effort by Israel to disconnect from Gaza, given that some of the tax revenues are used to pay services and employees in the Strip. The latter decision was taken as a security precaution following Hamas’s terror onslaught during which some 1,200 Israelis were brutally killed and another roughly 240 were taken hostage.

The security establishment has warned that the policies risk collapsing an already cash-strapped PA, which would leave Israel responsible for providing services to millions of Palestinians in the West Bank.

This image from video shows the moment a Border Police vehicle was targeted by a roadside bomb in the West Bank city of Jenin, January 7, 2024. (Screenshot: Telegram)

The PA has been unable to pay its employees, including members of its security services in full for months, and the Shin Bet document reported by Channel 13 warns that this could lead to PA troops turning their weapons on Israeli forces after decades of cooperation that the IDF has credited for curbing terror and maintaining stability in the West Bank.

The US has also repeatedly called on Israel to release the PA tax revenues, noting that they belong to Ramallah, effectively accusing Israel of stealing. Biden officials have warned that failure to do so risks opening up another front in the West Bank on top of the war in Gaza and the ever-intensifying state of affairs on the northern border.

But Netanyahu has not budged on the matter amid pushback from far-right ministers Itamar Ben Gvir and Bezalel Smotrich, whose support he needs to maintain his coalition.

Netanyahu reportedly reached out to UAE President Mohammed bin Zayed asking if Abu Dhabi would be willing to finance unemployment benefits for the Palestinian workers in the West Bank. The Emirati leader flatly rejected the request.

“A lot of blood could be spilled, for merely political reasons,” a security source tells Channel 13. “Not enough is being done to prevent this.”

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