Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gestures as he speaks at the Cybertech 2019 conference in Tel Aviv.
(photo credit: AMIR COHEN/REUTERS)
Let there be no doubt that Israel will deduct money that the Palestinian Authority pays terrorists and their families from the tariffs and duties it collects monthly on behalf of the PA and transfers to Ramallah, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday.
Speaking at the start of the weekly cabinet meeting, Netanyahu said that by the end of the week, the “necessary staff work will be completed to implement the law” to deduct the money from the amount transferred to the PA.
“Next Sunday, I will convene the security cabinet and we will make the necessary decision to offset the funds. The money will be deducted – no one should have any doubt about it,” he said.
The PA has acknowledged that its annual budget for these payments in both 2017 and 2018 was NIS 1.2 billion.
It said last week that if Israel deducts the funds, the PA will not accept any of the money Israel transfers to it under the terms of the Oslo Accords – more than $100 million a month.
On July 7, the Knesset passed legislation introduced by Avi Dichter (Likud) and Elazar Stern (Yesh Atid) requiring the Defense Ministry to inform the security cabinet of how much the PA pays in “welfare payments to terrorists and their families,” which will then be deducted from the amount Israel transfers to the PA each month.
This legislation followed passage of the Taylor Force Act in the US, which ended most US assistance to the Palestinians unless the PA stops payments to terrorist and their families, so called “pay-to-slay.”
The PA government said last week that the taxes and tariffs collected by Israel belong to the Palestinian public.
“Any deduction from these revenues is nothing but a continuation of Israeli piracy against billions of dollars that Israel has stolen,” the PA said in a statement. “This is also a clear and blatant violation of Israeli obligations in accordance with signed agreements, especially the Paris Economic Protocol.”
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