In search of the lash

Unless one is familiar with the New York Times’s coverage of issues related to Israel (i.e., Alice in Wonderland style), one might wonder at what Michael Schwirtz is talking about in his story “Trump Envoy to Middle East Lashes Out at Palestinian Authority” (accessible here via Outline). Schwirtz asserts in the opening of the story: “One of President Trump’s lead Middle East peace negotiators lashed out at the Palestinian Authority on Friday, accusing it of institutionalizing support for terrorism amid a dispute over Israeli tax transfers that make up a significant portion of Palestinian revenues.”

Following this opening, Schwirtz reports the usual murderous intransigence from long-time Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas:

Under longstanding accords, Israel makes monthly transfers to the Palestinian Authority from certain taxes it collects related to Palestinians. Last month, Israel announced a freeze on about 5 percent of the tax payout, as punishment for the Palestinian Authority’s policy of paying stipends to Palestinian prisoners in Israel and to the families of Palestinians killed or wounded in confrontations with Israelis.

In response, and despite the authority’s financial problems, the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, rejected the full tax transfer and vowed to continue to pay the stipends.

So where is Greenblatt’s lash? This must be it:

On Friday, the Trump administration’s Middle East envoy, Jason D. Greenblatt, accused Palestinian leaders of offering the stipends as a reward for acts of terrorism.

“If your citizens were being routinely attacked by terrorists, which of you would tolerate a reward system that compensated the attackers for their crimes?” he wrote in one tweet. “How can we possibly censure Israel for taking the same stance?”

Seems like more of a wet noodle to me.

Schwirtz adds this note further into his story without further comment: “The Palestinian Authority’s refusal to accept any of the revenues only adds to its financial woes.” So judgmental!

Via FDD Overnight Brief.