Knesset advances bill cutting funds to PA over terrorist salaries

Israel seeks to penalize the PA, which incentivizes terror by paying salaries to Palestinian prisoners and families of slain terrorists

By: World Israel News Staff

On Sunday, an Israeli legislative committee approved a bill to deduct funds from taxes that Israel collects from the Palestinian Authority (PA) in an amount that equals the sums the PA pays to the families of terrorists killed during attacks against Israelis and prisoners serving time in Israeli jails.

The law now proceeds to the Knesset plenum, where it must pass three readings before becoming law.

Israel seeks to penalize the PA, which incentivizes terror by paying salaries to Palestinian prisoners and compensating the families of slain terrorists.

Israel collects an estimated $2.1 billion in tax revenues for the PA, in accordance with the 1994 Paris Protocol, which governs economic relations with the PA, including import taxes on goods passing through Israel destined for the PA.

Some seven percent of the PA budget, largely funded by American and European aid, is directed by Palestinian legislation to pay salaries and benefits to Palestinian terrorists imprisoned in Israel and to allowances for Palestinian families whose relatives have been killed or injured while perpetrating terrorist attacks.

These payments, amounting to more than NIS 1.1 billion ($350 million) per year, are funneled through the Palestinian Authority Martyrs’ Fund, which was transferred to the PLO in 2014 in an attempt to divert criticism.

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman, the initiator of the bill, stated after the vote that “soon the theater of absurd will come to an end and the funds used for terrorists’ salaries which we will take from Abu Mazen [PA head Mahmoud Abbas] will be used to fight terrorism and compensate the terror victims.”

The Palestinian government slammed the approval of the legislation as “piracy, a theft of money, and yet another crime added to the Israeli occupations’ ongoing crimes committed against the Palestinian people”.

The Palestinian government further “affirmed that such a decision is invalid under international law.”

This legislation essentially emulates the Taylor Force Act, a 2016 US bill sponsored by Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), which proposes to halt American aid to the PA until the latter changes its legislation regarding the transfer of funds to Palestinian security prisoners and family members as well as to families of terrorists who died committing attacks.

The bill was introduced in the wake of the murder of 28-year-old Taylor Force, an American citizen and US army veteran who was visiting Israel as part of a Vanderbilt University study group. He was stabbed to death by a Palestinian terrorist on the Tel Aviv beach promenade in March 2016.