The Knesset building.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
A Defense Ministry proposal to combat the Palestinian Authority’s policy of paying terrorists and their families that was criticized by MKs for being too weak was approved by the Ministerial Committee for Legislation on Sunday.
The proposed legislation would have the security cabinet decide each month whether to dock the amount the PA paid terrorists from tax and tariffs that Israel collects for the Authority. Cutting funds is the default option, but the bill would also give the security cabinet the options of freezing funds and paying later, or not deducting any funds “for special reasons of national security and international relations.”
The amount deducted will go into a fund for families of victims of terrorism.
After the vote, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman said: “The bill to deduct terrorists’ salaries that I initiated was approved by the Ministerial Committee for Legislation.
Soon, this theater of the absurd will come to an end and the terrorists’ salaries that we will take from Abu Mazen [PA President Mahmoud Abbas] will be used to prevent terrorism and to compensate the victims.”
The PA paid terrorists and their families over $347 million in 2017. Terrorists who have been sentenced to threeto- five years in Israeli prisons receive the average income of a Palestinian, about $580 per month. The families of those who committed more severe crimes and were involved in killing Israelis receive five times the average per month for the rest of their lives.
PLO Prisoners’ Commission Chairman Essa Qaraqaa said the committee’s approval of the bill “comes in the context of a campaign and hostility that the occupation government is carrying out at the expense of the prisoners and martyrs’ and wounded people’s families.”
“The position of the Palestinian leadership is clear in that it will not give up in the families of prisoners, martyrs and wounded people. It will not allow their issue to be bartered or blackmailed. It also rejects describing prisoners, martyrs and wounded people as terrorists and criminals.”
Adam Rasgon contributed to this report.