RAMALLAH, Thursday, December 27, 2018 (WAFA) – Israel seeks to undermine the Palestinian Authority and to destroy it but the leadership did not succumb to this plot, Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah said on Wednesday night.
“Israel wants to take us to the point of armed clash in order to undermine the Palestinian National Authority. But the leadership, wisely, contained the situation and prevented the Israelis from having this chance,” he said in an interview with the Bethlehem-based Maan TV. “We are focusing on popular resistance both in the West Bank and in Area C,” which makes over 60 percent of area of the West Bank as classified in the Oslo Accords that remains under full Israeli military control.
"Israel wants a mini-state in the Gaza Strip and self-rule in the West Bank, but there is no substitute for an independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital," he said, adding that Israel wants to isolate occupied Jerusalem and separate it from its surroundings, but the city will maintain its Islamic and Christian identity and what Israel is doing in Jerusalem will fail.
He said the Arab countries promised billions of dollars in support of Jerusalem but only millions have arrived. “If the Arab summit decisions on Jerusalem were implemented, we would not be in need of anything else,” said Hamdallah.
He said donor aid to the Palestinians for 2019 has declined by 71 percent. Yet, the Palestinian Authority was able to increase revenues from 2103 until 2018 by almost $1 billion while bringing down deficit to $700 million.
Regarding Gaza, the Prime Minister said his government spends $96 million and gets only $3.4 million in return. He said the monthly fuel bill amounts to $10 million and water and water treatment consume another $10 million, not to mention salaries, medicine and hospital bills.
“I don’t know what sanctions on Gaza they are talking about. We provide it with $96 million and Hamas collect the taxes. Hamas should be asked where the money it collects is,” he said. “We are taking full responsibility in the Gaza Strip.”
Hamdallah said that when Hamas agrees to allow the government to do its work in Gaza, he will go there.
The Prime Minister said the decision to dissolve the Palestinian Legislative Council came from the highest judicial authority, which is the Constitutional Court, and therefore neither the president nor the government can do anything else other than to implement the court decision and call for elections in six months.
“We will go for elections few months after the government is empowered in the Gaza Strip,” he said.
On the controversial Social Security Law, Hamdallah said it was supposed to have been implemented 24 years ago, stressing that the law is important to protect the rights of the poor and the marginalized. “The Social Security Law has already left the station and is launched,” he said in apparent response to the law’s opponents who are calling for cancelling it in total.