Knesset dawdles while Trump moves to cut PA funds over terrorists' salaries
Bill to cut PA tax payments over terrorist salaries still stuck in committee.
By LAHAV HARKOVUpdated: JANUARY 4, 2018 01:43
While US President Donald Trump threatened funding to the Palestinian Authority in a tweet and in action at the UN this week, the Knesset bill to slash tax transfers to the Palestinian Authority as long as it continues to pay terrorists, remained stuck on Wednesday, 10 months after it was proposed.It is “uncomfortable” that the American version of the bill is making progress, but in Israel, it’s stuck, Yesh Atid MK Elazar Stern told The Jerusalem Post.Stern introduced the bill in March, based on the Taylor Force Act, a bill by Senator 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 in the House of Representatives in December and is awaiting Senate approval.Stern’s version would deduct the amount of money the PA gives to terrorists in Israeli prisons or to the families of those killed by Israel, from the tax and tariff money Israel collects for the PA.The terrorists’ salaries are anchored in PA law, and the amount increases with every Israeli they kill, amounting to an estimated NIS 1.2 billion annually.“Every day in which this law has not passed, Palestinian youth live in an atmosphere that motivates terrorism and makes terrorism look worthwhile to them,” Stern lamented.The bill passed a preliminary reading in the Knesset in June, and the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee held two meetings in which it attempted to determine the exact numbers of how much money Israel would be holding back.Another meeting is expected to take place behind closed doors next Tuesday, but it is not expected to include a vote, which is necessary for the bill to move to a first reading in the plenum.Asked about the US president’s tweets on cutting funding to the Palestinians, Stern said: “We don’t need Trump’s statements. They shouldn’t influence us.”However, Stern took the US cutting aid to the Palestinians as a counter-argument against those concerned that his bill will lead the PA to collapse.“This is proof that it can be done,” he said of the US actions.Stern said he is optimistic that his bill will pass into law before the Knesset’s winter session ends in March, and pointed out that the coalition worked much harder recently to pass legislation that was not related to national security, like one to limit commerce on Shabbat.
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