An IDF soldier stands next to a blindfolded Palestinian prisoner.
(photo credit: REUTERS/IDF HANDOUT)
The Palestinian Authority paid terrorists and their families over $347 million last year, according to its own records, the Defense Ministry reported to the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on Tuesday.
The average income of a Palestinian is $580 per month, which is what the PA pays terrorists who are sentenced to three to five years in prison.
The PA pays terrorists who are sentenced to 20 years or more in prison – in other words, those who committed more severe crimes, and likely were involved in killing Israelis – five times that each month for the rest of their lives.
Terrorists who are Israeli citizens receive a $145 bonus, which, when added to the amount PA pays for the most severe crimes, comes to over $2,900 a month, more than the average Israeli income of around $2,700. There are also increases in pay for being married and for each child a terrorist has.
Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman said, “The PA pays over a billion shekels a year to terrorists and their families, thus encouraging and perpetuating terrorism.
“The minute the amount of the payment is decided according to the severity of the crime and the length of the sentence – in other words, whoever murders and is sentenced to life in prison gets much more – that is funding terrorist attacks against Israeli citizens. There is nothing that better illustrates the PA’s support for terrorism. We must stop this,” he said.
Liberman presented the data to the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Tuesday, along with his bill to deduct the equivalent amount to what the PA pays terrorists and their families, from taxes and tariffs Israel collects for the PA.
The bill is based on a proposal by Yesh Atid MK Elazar Stern, which in turn was inspired by the US Taylor Force Act, legislation written by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) that would stop all US aid to the Palestinians as long as they pay salaries to terrorists and their families. The bill, named after an American victim of Palestinian terrorism, passed the House of Representatives in December and is awaiting Senate approval.
The Defense Ministry version of the bill will likely go to the Ministerial Committee for Legislation in three weeks, with a first reading in the Knesset in the ensuing days.
The bill explains the mechanism by which the money will be deducted. The deduction will be monthly, and will be one-twelfth of the amount that the PA paid terrorists and their families in the previous year.
A “terrorist” is defined in the bill as anyone who committed a security offense, whether or not he or she was convicted by a court or is still living.
Each year, the defense minister will bring the Ministerial Committee for National Security a report on how much the PA paid terrorists, directly or indirectly. The report will be classified, but the defense minister will be allowed to publicize a summary consisting of non-classified information from the report.
The ministers will then decide whether or not to deduct the amount paid to terrorists from the taxes and tariffs collected by the Israeli government for the PA. They can decide to deduct a smaller sum than what the PA had paid the terrorists.
The ministers can also decide not to deduct the funds, “for special reasons of national security and international relations.”
Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee chairman Avi Dichter (Likud) said he finds it problematic that the Defense Ministry version of the bill can allow the ministers to not deduct the funds, which he said “negates the most significant part of the bill.”
“If the Palestinian Authority has budgetary problems, it shouldn’t be the State of Israel’s problem,” Dichter said. “Government ministries have to take into consideration this situation: A terrorist’s entry card to become a [PA] state employee is to commit an act of terrorism.
It’s not amorphous. It’s precisely defined. Seven percent of the money we transfer to the PA goes to terrorists. We cannot let this be.”