“Instead of fighting against terrorism, this government is paying protection money to terrorists. It’s happening right now.” In an interview with Al-Monitor, Avigdor Liberman, the chairman of Yisrael Beitenu, leveled this charge against Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon’s decision to transfer half a billion shekels ($127 million) to the Palestinian Authority. Kahlon’s gesture is intended to prevent a complete collapse of the PA and quiet down the current wave of terrorism.
Kahlon’s decision was first revealed by daily Yedioth Ahronoth on Feb. 26. Liberman could not have asked for a better time to hammer more nails into the right-wing government’s coffin. At a speech he delivered just one day earlier at a Yisrael Beitenu conference at the Jerusalem Convention Hall, he introduced his own “10-point program” to stop the wave of terror. After calling for the reinstitution of Israel’s targeted assassination strategy of wanted terrorists, his second point was to stop the transfer of all funds to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Less than a day later, Kahlon was making headlines with his own news, which demanded a response. Only, Liberman had already pre-empted him.