Israel can seize PA funds paid to terrorist, court rules

Citing 2016 anti-terror law, Tel Aviv District Court rules that Israeli government can seize salary paid by the Palestinian Authority to an incarcerated terrorist.

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News

The Tel Aviv District Court ruled on Sunday that the Israeli government can seize funds paid by the Palestinian Authority to an incarcerated terrorist, citing a 2016 anti-terror law that permits the seizure of “pay for slay” salaries.

The court rejected a petition filed by convicted terrorist Fakhri Zahir Mansour Omar, who asked for the return of tens of thousands of shekels in payments to Omar that were seized by the Israeli government.

In October 2005, Omar drove a suicide bomber to the scene of an attack in Hadera that killed seven Israelis and injured 55.

The request to seize the funds was made by the Economic Counterterrorism Bureau, which operates as part of the Defense Ministry.

The ECB said in a statement, “This precedent-setting ruling by the court allows, for the first time, the seizure of funds paid to terrorists by the Palestinian Authority.”

According to a report by The Washington Post, the PA paid approximately $160 million in 2017 to incarcerated Palestinian terrorists convicted of plotting or carrying out attacks against Israelis.

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The PA paid an additional $183 million to the prisoners’ families as well as to the families of deceased terrorists.

The U.S. and Israel have condemned the practice of “pay for slay” salaries for incentivizing and rewarding terrorism, but PA President Mahmoud Abbas has called moves to stop the payments “aggression against the Palestinian people.”

Defense Minister Benny Gantz said in a statement that he was encouraged by the ruling.

“I intend to lead various initiatives via the Economic Counterterrorism Bureau to prevent the transfer of funds to terrorists and terrorist organizations,” he said.

“This ruling will help us in the war on terror, through economic means.”

Last year, the U.S. Congress passed the Taylor Force Act, which slashes American aid to the PA until cash payments to terrorists and their families are stopped.

The law was named after U.S. military veteran Taylor Force, who was killed by a Palestinian terrorist in Tel Aviv in 2016.