The Palestinian Authority (PA) vowed on Friday to continue confronting Israel's occupation after being hit with punitive measures in an act of revenge for referring Israel’s occupation of the West Bank to the International Court of Justice
Israel announced on Friday that it blocked around $39 million in funding to the Palestinian leadership, as well as Palestinian construction in parts of the West Bank, in retaliation for the Palestinian approach to the ICJ.
The development underscores the hard-line approach that Israel’s new, extreme-right government is taking against the Palestinians, which will likely lead to a rise in violence in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh said Friday that while the decision to deduct funds would exacerbate the PA’s already difficult financial situation, it would not stop them from continuing their efforts on an international level "to achieve independence and statehood," according to the WAFA news agency.
He also called on countries that condemned the storming of Al-Aqsa Mosque by Israeli National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir "to translate their statements into action," and to put an end to these crimes, as quoted by WAFA.
Ben-Gvir, long known for his inflammatory and racist remarks against Palestinians, stormed Al-Aqsa Mosque compound on Thursday, drawing international criticism.
The decades-old status quo allows only Muslims to worship at the compound – the third holiest site in Islam - which is managed by the Jordanian-affiliated Islamic Waqf.
Amman has increasingly sounded alarm at Israel’s attempts to change this status quo, warning that it was ready to fight if need be.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas also vowed to "firmly confront" the violations committed by Israel’s new government and extremist settler groups.
He added that the Palestinian people would "stand firm" in their land and protect Christian and Islamic sanctities, reported WAFA.
"We will remain committed to resisting the Israeli occupation and its settlement policies that aim to undermine the Palestinian Islamic and Christian presence," Abbas said during a dinner in Bethlehem on the occasion of Orthodox Christmas.
The PA’s foreign ministry also condemned Israel’s punitive measures in a statement on Friday, saying they reflected [Benjamin] Netanyahu’s government's "racist colonial platform" against the Palestinian people.
"These and other measures will not discourage our people and our leadership from continuing the struggle and the political, diplomatic and legal action to provide international protection for our people, and to put an end to Israel’s continued impunity from accountability, on the way to forcing it to end its occupation of the land of the State of Palestine," the statement said as quoted by WAFA.
The foreign ministry called on Israel’s biggest ally, the United States, to intervene to put a stop to the Israeli government’s aggressive measures and violations of international law and signed agreements.
The Israel government has raised fears among Palestinians who believe they will be faced with further violence and oppression.
The United Nations says 2022 was the deadliest year for Palestinians in the West Bank in over 15 years.