Yishai. Pathetic desire
Photo: Gil Yohanan
Avraham-Balila. Palestinians will lose
Photo: Gil Yohanan
Photo: Kobi Kantor
Atias. Stupidity
Photo: Kobi Kantor

Yishai: Gov't compensating Gazans before south's residents

Ministers respond angrily to Ynet report that money transferred by Israel to Palestinian Authority used for rebuilding Gaza. Avraham-Balila: Deduct every penny from future funds to PA. Shas leader: Document last nail in coffin of our desire to cooperate with Palestinians

Government ministers responded angrily Friday morning to a Ynet report that funds transferred by Israel for the payment of Palestinian government workers' salaries were used by the Palestinian Authority to rebuild the Strip following the Israeli offensive in Gaza.


"The pathetic desire to create a partner on the Palestinian side has led to an absurd and shocking situation, in which the State of Israel is compensating the Palestinians for Operation Cast Lead before transferring funds to compensate the residents of southern Israel," said Industry, Trade and Labor Minister Eli Yishai.


The Shas chairman added that the document constituted a last nail in the coffin of the Israeli desire to cooperate with the Palestinians on the diplomatic level.


"When the decision (to transfer the funds) was made, I said that it meant adding fuel to the wheels of terror rather than building trust with the Palestinian Authority. We won't let this situation continue in the future," he concluded.


According to the information obtained by Ynet, NIS 90 million ($21.5 million) out of the NIS 175 million ($41.8 million) approved by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in order to pay the wages of Fatah members in Gaza have been used to compensate owners of homes damaged by Israel Defense Forces fire during Operation Cast Lead.


Ten days after the money was transferred, not one penny has been deposited in the Palestinian Authority workers' bank accounts in Gaza.


Following an order issued by Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, those NIS 90 million were transferred to the United Nations Development Program in order to compensate owners of houses in the Gaza Strip which were destroyed or damaged during the Israeli offensive.


State officials in Jerusalem were informed that the funds given to the home owners were not distributed through an international body supervising the money funneled to Gaza, as opposed to Israel's demand.


Tourism Minister Ruhama Avraham-Balila said in response to the report, "The money was allotted for specific purposes, and if it was used for other goals I will ask the government to deduct every penny for future funds transferred to the Palestinian Authority.


According to Avraham-Balila, "Only the Palestinians will lose" following such a move.


Communications Minister Ariel Atias said that "this is another reminder of the stupidity in transferring funds to the Palestinian Authority, which is tied to Hamas through its umbilicus."


He added that he expects Prime Minister Olmert to prevent the transfer of additional funds to the PA, which are being used to rehabilitate Hamas.


פרסום ראשון: 02.27.09, 10:22
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