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G7 nations urge Israel to stop weakening the Palestinian Authority

Participants to an expanded Group of Seven summit session, including Pope Francis (front row, 4th from L), take part in a photo session on June 14, 2024, in the southern Italian city of Fasano, Puglia. (Photo: Kyodo via Reuters)

The leaders of the Group of Seven (G7) leading industrialized nations, who met at a summit in Italy, urged Israel on Friday to cease any actions that could undermine the Palestinian Authority.

“Actions that weaken the Palestinian Authority must stop, including the withholding of clearance revenues by the Israeli Government,” the G7 nations said in their statement. “Maintaining economic stability in the West Bank is critical for regional security.”

The G7 group includes the United States, Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom, Canada, France and Italy. They welcomed the establishment of a new PA cabinet “as it undertakes the reforms that are indispensable to enable it to discharge its responsibilities in the West Bank and, in the aftermath of the conflict, in Gaza.”

The call came after Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich recently pledged to withhold tax funds from the Palestinian Authority (PA) due to its support for terrorism against Israel and unilateral hostile diplomatic moves.

Following the unilateral recognition of “Palestine” by Spain, Ireland and Norway in May, Smotrich vowed an “immediate response" to "exact a significant price from the Palestinian Authority.”

The finance minister stated that Israel would “punish the PA for its unilateral actions against Israel, including its pursuit of unilateral recognition … and the legal battle it is waging against the State of Israel in the courts in The Hague to bring the war to a halt.”

In the 1990s, Israel and the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) signed the Oslo Accords which created the Palestinian Authority (PA). Israel agreed, among other measures, to collect tax revenues on behalf of the Palestinians in exchange for the PA educating its citizens toward peace and reconciliation towards Israel and the Jewish population.

Instead, the PA has systematically violated the Oslo Accords by financially rewarding terrorism against Israel through its controversial pay-for-slay policy. As a result, the Israeli government has occasionally withheld tax funds as a tool to pressure the PA to comply with the agreement.

Addressing the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip, the G7 nations stressed the importance of continuing to support the activities of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA).

“It is critical that UNRWA and other UN organizations and agencies’ distribution networks be fully able to deliver aid to those who need it most, fulfilling their mandate effectively,” the G7 nations urged.

In January, the United States and several other donor nations suspended their financial aid to UNRWA after Israel revealed incriminating evidence showing UNRWA officials participating in the Hamas invasion and terror attack on Oct. 7.

At the time. the UN promised to launch an independent probe of UNRWA and its actions, however, in April, a panel whitewashed the UNRWA scandal by claiming Israel had failed to present “supporting evidence” showing ties between UNRWA and the terrorist organization Hamas.

Turning to the conflict between Israel and the Iranian-backed Hezbollah forces in Lebanon, the G7 group of nations urged “all involved actors to exercise restraint to avoid further escalation.”

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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