The Palestinian Authority in Ramallah has cut off aid to Palestinian activists in a bid to boost peace efforts being promoted by US Secretary of State John Kerry, a senior Israeli military commander has claimed. The cuts are aimed at activists carrying out protests against Israeli settlements and military aggression in the occupied West Bank. Such protests, the activists say, highlight the PA's security cooperation with the Israeli occupation.
According to Major-General Nitzan Alon, Israel's top military commander in the West Bank, who leaked information about the cuts to the media, "Violence could escalate if the Secretary of State's peace mission fails." He believes that Kerry's mission has a positive influence on the ground, "mainly" with the authority run by Mahmoud Abbas.
"The PA," he explained, "almost stopped financing a group that dealt with some riots and protests against Israel, and they halted the funds of this group in the last couple of months." Alon revealed later that this group was the Popular Committee Against the Wall and Settlements.
Although local activists refused to admit one way or the other about the cuts when contacted by MEMO, a Palestinian journalist said that he had spoken to some of them. "They denied the cuts," said Sihaib Al-Asa from Bethlehem, "but through discussions with them, I recognised that cuts really have been made."
There has been a noticeable decrease in anti-Israel protests recently. General Alon, however, expressed his frustration at the "terror activity" of radical Jewish settlers who carry out attacks on Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and inside Israel.