Outrage as Israel fails to stop transfer of funds to PA earmarked for terrorist salaries

Opposition slams government for failing to stop transfer of tax monies that Palestinian Authority uses to pay terrorists and their families.

By Paul Shindman, World Israel News

The opposition slammed the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Wednesday following reports that Israel failed to stop the transfer of hundreds of millions in tax money to the Palestinian Authority that it uses to pay convicted terrorists and their families.

A report by Kan Radio on Tuesday revealed that despite a new law forcing Israel to deduct the amount of money equal to the “pay-for-slay” salaries, the entire amount has been transferred to the PA for the past two months.

“The hypocrisy of this government has broken a new record,” tweeted opposition Yesh Atid member Elazar Stern, calling on the government to “move on issues that will ensure the safety of Israeli residents.”

“It is time you decide, as required by law, to prevent the transfer of funds intended to encourage a culture of murder and terrorism against Israeli citizens,” Stern said.

The head of the Palestinian prisoners ministry in the PA, Kadri Abu Bakr, confirmed that the authority received the full tax amount Israel collected in March and April without deducting the funds the PA pays to terrorists and their families. Abu Bakr said it was unclear whether Israel will transfer the funds collected in May without the offset.

Likud Knesset Member Avi Dichter, one of the initiators of the law that stops Israel transferring money used to pay terrorists, told Kan Radio, “the message from this decision is bad.”

“The law is not a recommendation neither to the prime minister nor to anyone else,” Dichter said. “In order not to deduct, the law must be changed – I find it difficult to see a situation where the law will change.”

The Prime Minister’s Office responded with a brief statement that did not explain why the funds were transferred.

“The delay in offsetting tax money to the Palestinian Authority was not due to a change in approach. We will act in accordance with the law,” the statement said.

Palestinian Authority leaders have emphasized that even though Israel intended to cut off the funds from tax monies it collects from Palestinians and then transfers to the PA, they would continue to pay the families of prisoners and terrorists and have no intention of stopping.

PA officials said they intend to set up a private bank belonging to the Palestine Liberation Organization where salaries and allowances will be deposited with prisoners and families of Palestinians killed in confrontations with Israel. The move would stop any legal exposure of private Palestinian banks to international sanctions for banking activity in connection with terrorist funds.

Apparently, Israel did act in accordance with the law and deduct the sum the PA pays to terrorists from transfers to the Authority in 2018, but stopped doing so.

According to the law, former Defense Minister Naftali Bennett was supposed to submit a report on the amount the PA paid in 2019 salaries for prisoners and terrorists but did not do so, and the cabinet did not convene to approve further deductions, Kan reported.