(photo credit: ISRAEL PRISON SERVICE)
National Security Advisor Yossi Cohen on Sunday told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee that it cannot offset the Palestinians’ payments to terrorists in prison by deducting from their tax revenues unless a decision is reached to ditch the Oslo Accords.
At the committee’s meeting on offsetting the “salaries” paid by the Palestinians to imprisoned terrorists by using portions of tax revenues that Israel collects for the Palestinian Authority to pay off its debts to Israel Electric Corporation, National Security Council head Cohen agreed with the frustration regarding the situation, but said the proposed solution was untenable.
MK Orit Struck (Bayit Yehudi) argued that the problem is that “to be a terrorist has become a preferred profession.”
Struck said that she had compared the payments received by Palestinian security prisoners in Israeli jails to the salary of Palestinian security forces and found that terrorists are paid NIS 800 more.
The phenomenon of terrorism could not be slowed until it no longer “paid” to be a terrorist and the funneling of reward money to imprisoned terrorists from the Palestinians was cut off, the Bayit Yehudi MK said.
Cohen said he understood the issue and that some progress had been made.
He noted that the PA had eliminated its Prisoner Affairs Ministry that used to pay the prisoners.
However, the PLO took on the role of paying the prisoners in place of the PA, keeping the issue alive.
The problem, according to Cohen, is that even if Israel started offsetting funds the Palestinians’ payments to security prisoners to pay off debts to the IEC from tax revenues it collects for the Palestinians, the Palestinians would continue paying the prisoners even as the education system and other crucial institutions collapsed.
In other words, he said that offsetting the payments would eventually cause the PA’s collapse, which unless Israel abandoned the Oslo Accords, was not consistent with the country’s current strategies or goals.