Israel to cut additional NIS 150m. from Palestinians over terror payments

Tax revenues constitute 65% of the PA’s budget, and the previous Israeli cuts amounted to 6% of that sum.

PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY PRESIDENT Mahmoud Abbas, Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh (third left) and other members of the new government attend the swearing-in ceremony in Ramallah last month. (photo credit: MOHAMAD TOROKMAN/REUTERS)
PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY PRESIDENT Mahmoud Abbas, Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh (third left) and other members of the new government attend the swearing-in ceremony in Ramallah last month.
(photo credit: MOHAMAD TOROKMAN/REUTERS)
Israel plans to cut an additional NIS 150 million from the tax revenues it transfers to the Palestinian Authority to protest the continued PA payments to terrorists involved in attacks against Israelis.
In a move that is likely to deepen the PA’s financial crisis, the diplomatic-security cabinet agreed today to add that NIS 150m. sum to the already NIS 500m. it has held back this year from the tax revenues it collects on behalf of the PA.
The NIS 500m. sum equal 12 months of PA payments to Palestinian terrorists who are jailed by Israel or were released, and to their families. This latest NIS 150 minion cut covers 12 months of payments the PA has given to Palestinian terrorists who were killed or injured while committing acts of violence against Israel.
Tax revenues constitute 65% of the PA’s budget, and the previous Israeli cuts amounted to 6% of that sum.
Both Israel and the US have unsuccessfully urged the PA to halt such payments.
Defense Minister Naftali Bennett has been a strong advocate of withholding what Israel calls “pay-for-slay” funds. He presented a report on the matter prior to the cabinet vote.
Deputy Defense Minister Avi Dichter (Likud) congratulated Bennett for successfully gaining cabinet approval for the matter.
“We have allowed the PA to pay salaries to terrorists for far to long,” Dichter said. “That party is over.” He warned the PA that Israel would continue to increase its deduction “to the last shekel” of the tax revenues until such payments were halted, saying there can be no compromises in the war to protect Israel citizens.
In 2018 the Knesset has passed the Dedication Law proposed by Dichter and MK Elazar Stern, to help ensure that tax revenues were withheld if the PA continued to pay monthly stipends to Palestinians involved in acts of terror against Israel. PA officials strongly condemned the Israeli government’s decision, calling it a “new theft of Palestinian funds.”
A PA official in Ramallah told The Jerusalem Post that the decision was a “new Israeli piracy” of Palestinian money. “President [Mahmoud] Abbas has repeatedly made it clear that the Israeli measures won’t stop us from continuing to pay the prisoners and families of martyrs,” the official said. “This is a blatant violation of international law and all agreements we signed with Israel.”
PLO Executive Committee member Hanan Ashrawi condemned the decision as “financial and political extortion that reflects the occupation state’s policy, which is based on criminalizing all forms of resistance and imposing collective punishment on the Palestinian people.”
Ashrawi said that “this dangerous decision, which is backed by the US administration, contradicts international law and signed agreements” between the Palestinians and Israel.
“The Israeli government is taking these illegal and provocative measures in the midst of the political turmoil in the Israeli arena,” Ashrawi charged. She added that the decision won’t stop the Palestinian leadership from “fulfilling its commitments towards the prisoners and families of Palestinian martyrs.”
    


Tags Terrorist