Palestinians Quietly Backing Kerry Initiative

YERUSHALAYIM (Reuters) -

The Palestinian Authority in Yehudah and Shomron has tried to help the latest U.S. peacemaking drive by quietly cutting off funds for anti-Israel elements, a senior Israeli general said on Tuesday.

Major-General Nitzan Alon, Israel’s top military officer in the area, also said that violence could escalate if Secretary of State John Kerry’s peace mission fails.

Briefing diplomats and reporters at the Yerushalayim Center for Public Affairs, a conservative think-tank, Alon said Kerry’s bids to revive negotiations had a “positive influence on the ground, mainly on the PA.

“The PA, for example, almost stopped financing a group that was involved with some riots and protests against Israel, and they halted the funds of this group in the last couple of months.”

Alon said the PA had kept its bankrolling of the group, and the cut-off of cash, secret. “They weren’t looking for diplomatic recognition for the move but rather for the territory to quiet down,” he said.

Alon said there were signs of Palestinian restraint wearing thin. He cited rising anti-Israeli violence such as stone- and Molotov cocktail-throwing and what he said was the involvement of some PA security men in attacks.

“If, in a few weeks, the attempt of the American involvement will go (away) with nothing, I’m afraid that we will see this trend of escalation even strengthening,” he said.