With Israel entering its ground war against Hamas in Gaza while facing an existential battle of Iran-backed groups vowing to destroy it, the Biden administration is chiding Israel to give money to the Palestinian Authority.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken told the Senate Appropriations Committee that the Biden administration is calling for the funds to be released to support the Palestinian Authority’s governance of the West Bank, according to Axios.
“We asked them to release [the money],” Blinken said.
“The Palestinian Authority is doing everything it can to keep security and stability in the West Bank. It is vastly under-sourced. This is another aspect of the problem,” he added.
A U.S. official whose name was not released said the message was that Israel cannot afford to let the Palestinian Authority fall apart.
“We told them that such a move undermines the Palestinian Authority and the stability in the West Bank and goes against Israeli interests. We can’t just let everything collapse,” a U.S. official said.
Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich notified Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday that he was canceling the payments, which amount to about $150 million per month.
“I would like to inform you that I have instructed the Finance Ministry to stop the transfer of payments this month,” he wrote to according to the Times of Israel.
He said he took action due to “senior PA officials’ support for the horrific massacres of the Nazi terrorist organization Hamas.”
“The PA has once again proven the fact, about which we have been raising our voices for years, that it is a terror-supporting organization,” Smotrich wrote.
“Therefore, beyond the connection of these funds to the Gaza Strip and its residents, these funds are used for activities against the State of Israel and its citizens. It is inconceivable that in this reality, we will continue to transfer these funds as if nothing has happened,” he said.
Smotrich issued a list of Palestinian Authority comments supporting Hamas, including a statement on the authority’s official Palestine TV on Oct. 7, the day of the Hamas attack, that said, “Today Gaza laid a blow the occupation won’t forget… today we awoke united.”
Biden’s action on behalf of the Palestinian Authority comes as a new poll shows only 17 percent of Arab American voters say they will support Biden next year, according to the Arab American Institute. That’s down from 59 percent support in 2020.
“This is the most dramatic shift over the shortest period of time that I’ve ever seen,” said James Zogby, the founder and president of the Arab American Institute, according to Time.
The poll of 500 Arab-Americans was taken between Oct. 23 and Oct. 27 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.9 percentage points, according to the Institute.
The poll showed that 66 percent of those surveyed have a negative view of Biden’s response to the slaughter of Israeli civilians at the hands of Hamas.
The poll also showed that 68 percent of those polled believe the U.S. should not send weapons to Israel, while the percentage believe the U.S. should use its clout to force a ceasefire in Gaza.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.
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