Fatah supporters take part in a rally marking the death anniversary of late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, in Gaza City November 11, 2017..
(photo credit: REUTERS/MOHAMMED SALEM)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu plans to authorize withholding taxes and tariffs collected for the Palestinian Authority in light of its continued monthly payments to terrorists and their families, for the first time since the Deduction Law was passed last year.
The Deduction Law requires the Defense Ministry to present the security cabinet with a report on how much the PA paid terrorists in prison or the families of terrorists who were killed, and for the Finance Ministry to deduct that amount from the taxes and tariffs Israel collects for the PA. The Defense Ministry confirmed that it is in “advanced stages” of collecting the information, in order to transfer the report to the security cabinet, as required by law.
Netanyahu said that he will enact the law, Israel Hayom reported, but is concerned that it will destabilize the PA, and is seeking a way to find a balance between the two elements.
The US cut all aid to the Palestinian Authority recently, as a result of its own law making the aid contingent on the PA stopping such payments to terrorists. Despite the significant economic penalties, the PA plans to maintain its current policy. The PLO’s chief negotiator Saeb Erekat said this week that the US policy is “misguided” and will lead hundreds of Palestinians to lose their jobs.
Meanwhile, the Defense Ministry is working on gathering precise figures for how much the PA paid to those who attacked Israelis in 2018, so that Israel can block those funds as well.
Palestinian Media Watch estimated that the PA spent at least $138 million on terrorist salaries in 2018. Their study is based on publicly available PA budget documents.
Last year, the Defense Ministry presented the Knesset with the scale of payments, indicating that the more severe the crime, the more terrorists are paid. Someone serving three to five years in prison gets NIS 2,000 per month – about the average income of a Palestinian – while someone serving 20-35 years receives five times that amount.
Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee chairman Avi Dichter expressed satisfaction at the law’s expected implementation, saying that “every shekel the PA transfers to terrorists will be deducted. This is how we create a deterrence against terrorism.”
Yesh Atid MK Elazar Stern, who proposed the bill, said: “I have no doubt the law will bring a reduction in terrorism and in harm to Israeli lives... The main question I have been asked since the law passed is how no one thought of this before, and how did we accept this bizarre situation for so many years.”
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