'PA tax funds to pay for Kassam damage'

Bill approved in preliminary reading: Israel could fund fortification and repair with PA tax money.

Tue Kassam 224.88 (photo credit: AP [file])
Tue Kassam 224.88
(photo credit: AP [file])
Israel might soon be able to demand that the Palestinian Authority cover the costs of Kassam rocket damage, according to a new bill that passed a preliminary reading in the Knesset Wednesday. The bill, an initiative of MKs Yisrael Hasson (Israel Beiteinu) and Limor Livnat (Likud), would finance repairs of all damages related to Kassam fire - evacuating residents of Gaza-area communities, repairing damage to buildings, medical costs and psychological treatment - from the tax funds that Israel collects for the Palestinian Authority and transfers to the PA on a regular basis. The bill also stipulates that funds for securing houses, shelters and bus stations in areas bordering Gaza would be taken from the PA tax money. Thirty-seven MKs voted for the bill, while 23 voted against. Earlier this month, a ministerial committee headed by Justice Minister Daniel Friedmann approved the draft to be voted on in the plenum. Hasson further proposed that the bill, if made into a law, be enforced retroactively, beginning with the disengagement from Gaza. Apart from initiators Hasson and Livnat, MKs Shai Hermesh (Kadima) and Matan Vilna'i (Labor) also signed the draft. "I am happy the MKs' common sense was stronger than the government's opposition," Hasson said after the vote. "It is important that [attendants of the] Annapolis [peace conference] also see the plight of the children of Sderot. It's time for relevant officials to take responsibility for their actions." MK Livnat said that "this is the first step in ending this outrage of giving [the PA] money that is then used for terrorism."