Palestinians vow to continue terror funding despite sanctions

“The Palestinian Authority will never stop paying salaries to the families of prisoners and martyrs,” senior PA officials stated.

By: World Israel News Staff

Senior Palestinian officials condemned a new Israeli law that financially penalizes the Palestinian Authority (PA) for paying stipends to terrorists and their families, vowing never to stop this practice.

“The Palestinian Authority will never stop paying salaries to the families of prisoners and martyrs,” senior PA officials told an Israel Radio reporter.

“Netanyahu is destroying the Palestinian Authority by deducting these funds from the taxes. In the end, he’ll need to replace the Authority and pay all of the salaries in the West Bank and Gaza,” they threatened.

Presidential spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh on Tuesday said the PA “categorically rejects this grave decision and considers it harmful to relations.”

The Knesset passed a law on Monday that withholds tens of millions of dollars from tax revenues collected by Israel on behalf of the PA over “welfare payments” the PA allocates to the families of prisoners and terrorists killed by Israeli forces. Israel and the US view these payments as direct incitement to terrorism.

The PA has dedicated a significant portion of its budget to directly incentivize the murder of Jews through stipends to terrorists and their families.

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In its 2018 budget, the PA increased the funding and allocated $360 million to the Prisoners and Martyrs fund, which disperses payment to imprisoned terrorists, released terrorists and the families of dead terrorists.

While condemning the new law, Palestinian officials also said it would not significantly affect the Palestinian economy.

The PA Finance Ministry said on Tuesday that Israel already deducts NIS 120 million each month from the tax revenues in order to cover the costs of electricity and water supplied to the Palestinians as well as medical treatment Palestinians receive in Israeli hospitals.

However, Abu Rudeinah threatened that if the law is implemented, it will be met with “important Palestinian steps to confront this grave decision because this issue is a red line that no one will be allowed to prejudice or cross.”

“It is tantamount to a declaration of war against the Palestinian people, their fighters and families and martyrs who fought for its freedom and for Jerusalem and the establishment of the independent Palestinian state,” Abu Rudeineh declared.

“Moving forward with the implementation of this decision will have grave repercussions,” he stated, noting that Palestinian options include appeals to the International Criminal Court (ICC) and at the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) – a frequent tactic employed by the PA.

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The Arab countries and the international community are “required to take a firm stand to confront and overturn this decision,” he said.

Saeb Erekat, a senior Palestinian official, said the Palestinian leadership is considering scaling down its political, economic and security relations with Israel and making it fully responsible for “the occupied territories” if it seizes funds from the tax revenues.

Erekat told diplomats from Russia, China and Germany, whom he met separately at his office on Tuesday, that the seizure of Palestinian funds is considered “theft, piracy and a blatant violation of signed agreements and international law.”

The Palestinian leadership “will not accept this decision and will not allow its implementation,” he affirmed.