Knesset votes to deduct Palestinian tax money that funds terror

“Every shekel sent to the murderers will be deducted from the PA tax money. We will stop funding terrorism,” Liberman stated.

By: Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

The Knesset on Monday evening passed its first reading of a bill to withhold payment of taxes and tariffs that Israel collects for the Palestinian Authority (PA) if the Ramallah government continues to pay terrorists a monthly salary.

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman pushed strongly for the bill to pass and gave an eye-opening example of how much money the PA sets aside for rewarding terrorists.

Calculations by his ministry show that Omar al-Abed, who received four life sentences for murdering Yosef Salomon and two of his adult children and wounding his wife in their home in Halamish (Neve Tsuf) last year, would receive over $3.4 million over the course of his life in Israeli prison. This is based on a scale by which the PA pays terrorists five times the PA average income of $580/month, if they are sentenced to 20 years or more, over an 80-year lifespan.

A terrorist sentenced to three to five years for lesser offenses is paid the average sum. But there are bonuses for being married and for each child a terrorist has; the payment also increases if the terrorist is an Israeli citizen. Moreover, if the terrorist dies in prison, the family continues to receive payment.

“I call on all Members of Knesset to join us and vote in favor of the law and put an end to this theater of the absurd,” Liberman asserted. “Every shekel sent to the murderers will be deducted from the PA tax money. We will stop funding terrorism.”

Bill parallels US Taylor Force Act

The Israeli bill parallels Congress’ recently-passed Taylor Force Act, which stops American economic aid to the PA until it stops paying stipends, funneled through their Martyrs’ Fund, to individuals who commit acts of terrorism and to the families of deceased terrorists. That law was named in honor of Taylor Force, a US Army veteran who was visiting Israel in 2016 when he was killed in a stabbing attack in Tel Aviv.

Soon after President Donald Trump signed the bill into law, the PA, which had tried to disguise its subsidies to terrorists by removing the funding amount from its official budget, openly included it again. A report in April by the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center stated that the PA allocated seven percent of its 2018 budget – or $360 million – to two bodies that are in charge of paying the terrorists and/or their families.

This is not the first time the government has considered deducting such payments, but the measures have always been temporary. In 2016, for example, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered that the monthly transfer of tax fees to the Fatah-led government be stopped in response to two deadly terror attacks committed within a 48-hour period. Thirteen-year-old Hallel Yaffa Ariel was stabbed in her bed at home in Kiryat Arba, and Rabbi Michael “Miki” Mark, 48, father of 10 children, was killed in a drive-by shooting in which his wife and two of their children were injured.

The funds deducted from the PA are to be invested in a fund which, among other things, will pay damages to victims of terror.