In the fall of 2011, a group of US congressmen decided to block $200 million in State Department funding from reaching the Palestinian Authority. The money, designated for healthcare, state building efforts and food programs, was withheld to try and discourage President Mahmoud Abbas from taking his unilateral bid for statehood to the United Nations Security Council.
At the time, the Israeli government remained quiet.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and defense minister Ehud Barak didn’t say a word. They wouldn’t say if they supported the suspension of aid or if they were against it.
But then in mid-October, the IDF decided to act. It invited The New York Times’ Jerusalem bureau chief at the time, Ethan Bronner, to a military base just outside the settlement of Beit El for an interview with Nitzan Alon, then the brigadier-general commanding the Judea and Samaria Division.
In the interview, Alon, who today serves as head of the IDF Operation Directorate, came out directly against the aid suspension.
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