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"It is no less than inspiration sent down to him"
By: Moatasem Hamadeh
April 29, 2017

"It is no less than inspiration sent down to him by Greenblatt and the Washington Institute"
(The theft of the sector's salaries was commissioned by Greenblatt and the recommendations of the Washington Institute as part of the prelude to the regional settlement).

As quickly as we expected, the pretext of the Palestinian Authority prime minister to justify the reasons for the burglary of the salaries of the employees has collapsed. After he claimed that the burglary was based on a directive and a decision by the European Union, the main financier of the PA's salary bloc, the European Union issued a statement in which he categorically denied any connection to the decision and confirmed that it was a decision taken by the Palestinian government alone. After trying to claim that the robbery was due to a lack of funding, he failed to explain why the burglary of Gaza wages alone, and does not affect the salaries of the West Bank. And that the robbery of the salaries of junior and middle-level employees, and the VIPs (from the president to the prime minister to ministers, deputies, agents and the army of the unemployed at the headquarters of the province and in the presidential constituency) are exempted from the duty of this robbery. When he tried to defend his government by claiming that, since the split, they had spent $ 17 billion on the Gaza Strip, he failed to explain these diversions. Where did they expensed, and in what pockets did this huge mass of dollars fall, especially as the sector was still suffering from severe infrastructure poverty; providing public services and other decent living necessities.

When Fatah tried to "protect" the president from the responsibility of the unjust decision, and turned to him as a neutral party, and the "father" who has to protect his sons, especially since most of those affected by the robbery decision are from Fatah movement, decisions of the Fatah Central Committee came to show the connection between the robbery of the salaries and the division, then put the condition for the return of salaries is if Hamas's retreat from the division. Which confirms that the source of the first decision is the presidency, not the government, and such a large and a serious decision like a decision robbery on salaries, could not be taken by Hamdallah alone, and the approval of Fatah Central Committee on this decision came to cover the President Abbas decision, who has worked to implement by Hamdallah government.

The question is: What is the relationship between salary theft and the issue of division especially since the division is entering its eleventh year? And how can the authority that suffers from the funding shortage, as it claims, fill this funding gap if Hamas responds to the conditions of the Fatah Central Committee to end the division? And why now, and now specifically, this file opened? And what harsh measures that President Abbas threatened to resort to in the event that Hamas did not respond to its terms to end the division? (As stated in his speech before the ambassadors of Palestine in Manama meetings in Bahrain). Why he moved away from all the initiatives to end the division and mechanisms proposed in many dialogue sessions, bilateral or collective, and immediately moved to describe the sector as the "rebel territory"? As well as moving immediately to the critical and uncontested conditions: dissolving Hamas administrative committee to manage the sector, to the entire institutions of the Authority without any obstacles, and to hand over the crossings, especially Rafah crossing, to the presidential guard without any conditions. Many questions about positions and actions emerged suddenly, in a clearly political context, although that the presidency of the PA, and "Fatah Central Committee", are trying to distort it and spread more waves of fog around it.

May be the PA government is suffering from a budget deficit, which could be as high as 30%, according to its data and sources. But limiting the decisions of reduction, and proposals for the early demobilization of employees, in the Gaza Strip, alone, is a question of doubt the validity of intentions, and the fact of the targets. Especially since the foregoing of these unfair decisions of the movements that would help to shed light on the reality of intentions of the decisions of robbery, and the reality of the targeting.

Since Trump's arrival in the White House, American research centers that would have contributed to the formulation of the new administration policies, notably the Washington Institute, are calling for pressure on the Palestinian Authority and its rehabilitation to enter the new settlement process within its regional framework, which is known, which is based on the total separation between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. And stop paying the salaries of employees, and the provision of service costs to the Gaza Strip, because these things are in the service of Hamas. The recommendations of the US think tanks aim at increasing the complexity and laying more obstacles to Hamas to put pressure on them politically within the framework of the regional settlement. Such recommendations put the people in the sector and Hamas in one basket, and imposed sanctions on the people, on the pretext that they impose them on Hamas, and fired people, claiming that they are firing Hamas.

This is an aspect that is no longer hidden. Such suggestions and recommendations have been issued in more than one study, especially for Washington Institute researchers Dennis Ross and David Makovsky.

The other side of the scene says that the American envoy to the region, Jason Greenblatt, who met with President Abbas to discuss the issues of negotiations and settlement, has given him 9 requests, which he considered necessary conditions to prepare for launching the negotiating process.

One of these requests is to stop the resorting to the international institutions to raise the Palestinian issue (which explains why the "official chorus" stopped talking about resorting to the International Criminal Court, especially to discuss the issue of prisoners who now declared an open hunger strike). Incitement against Israel and against occupation. This explains the low and very low voice of the PA in supporting the prisoner strike. In addition to all that issues of the security coordination and cooperation, and other provisions of the Oslo Accords, Greenblatt called for the "halt to the flow of PA funds into the Gaza Strip" and that funds sent to the "rebel sector", headed by Hamas, "terrorism".

He asked him to "reconsider the system of paying salaries and monthly allowances to the families of the martyrs, and to the families of the prisoners, because this would encourage terrorism".

It is worthy mention that Greenblatt's financial demands are often cited by many of Netanyahu cabinet ministers. As now they are turning into pre-existing US conditions for the PA to commit to if it wants to continue to be financed by donors, and if it also wants to remain within the regional political equation, according to Washington and Tel Aviv.

It is no longer useful to ignore the fact that a quarter of a century after the Oslo process, and after about 12 years of the departure of President Arafat, an authority led by the upper echelons of the allied bureaucracy, almost to the point of integration with the Palestinian intermediary, in the stability of the current situation, an interest in him (therefore emphasizes the peaceful option, and chasing the activists of the Intifada and the resistance and jailing them in prison in cooperation with the authorities of the occupation).

While at the same time, he no longer hesitates to take precedence over the interests of the elite at the expense of higher national interests, builds a social base for the beneficiaries of power, and expands this rule with more financial and social temptations. Perhaps this explains why the encroachment on the salaries of Gaza alone, and not to prejudice the gains of the West Bank.

This power has no longer the ability to resist American and Israeli pressure, and he is ready to go far with the "tips" of Washington and the pressures of Tel Aviv. Therefore, it is not possible to separate the issue of Gaza Strip salaries from the role of the United States in preparing the new theater, at the regional level, to launch Arab-Israeli negotiations in which the Palestinian negotiator is a false witness. As part of its qualification to play this role, the issue of reconsideration included the distribution of the Authority's funds. We must not be surprised, one day, to resort to the Authority to reduce the compensation of families of martyrs and prisoners or even stop paying under the pretext of lack of funds.

It is not just a financial crisis. But "It is no less than inspiration sent down to him". Which was addressed to President Abbas by Greenblatt and the Washington Institute.

Moatasem Hamadeh is a member of the Political Bureau of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine
Translated by: Rawan Al-Bash

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