Terror victims protest Israel’s plan to lend Palestinian Authority 800 million shekels

The advance on tax funds Israel transfers monthly is more than what was withheld due to Palestinian payouts to terrorists and their families.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

Despite the protest of bereaved families, Israel will start transferring Sunday to the Palestinian Authority (PA) NIS 800 million in a multi-phased loan to help the Authority out of its financial difficulties, Israel Hayom reported Sunday.

The Choosing Life Forum, made up of families victimized by Palestinian terrorism, and the Lavi organization for Citizens’ Rights and Proper Administration petitioned the High Court of Justice against the loan last week, said the report. Two of their main arguments are the concern that the PA would not return the money and that a large part of it would go to pay the salaries of terrorists sitting in Israeli jails.

Meirav and Herzl Hajaj of Choosing Life, whose daughter Shir was one of four soldiers killed by a Palestinian terrorist in a ramming attack in Jerusalem three years ago, said in a statement, “It’s not possible that hundreds of thousands of families and businesses in Israel are collapsing financially and … the Israeli government chooses to grant NIS 800 million to the Palestinian Authority…. This means that the Israeli government and we citizens are paying the salaries of our children’s murderers with our tax money.”

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The Lavi organization said of its petition, “The Palestinian Authority cannot give huge salaries to murderers of Jews and whine about [economic] difficulties. Transferring a billion shekels to the PA constitutes blatant disregard of the law and a gross affront to the families of terror victims.”

The PA’s economic straits are partly due to the recent steep drop in revenue caused by the countrywide shutdown over the coronavirus pandemic. But the Authority has been in financial trouble ever since Israel put into effect its “Pay for Slay” law early last year.

This law cuts the sum the PA pays in support of terrorists and their families – some NIS 700 million yearly — from the amount Jerusalem transfers to the PA from taxes of Palestinians employed in Israel. These taxes account for a large portion of the annual Palestinian budget.

The PA has continued paying out terrorist stipends even while most businesses have been closed in the last two months to stop the spread of the deadly virus. The PA considers the financial support of it what it calls “martyrs” as one of its central missions.

The prime minister, defense and finance ministers, and thead of the National Security Council all agreed to the loan, which will take place over a period of several months as an advance on the Palestinian taxes Israel collects.

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Israel already transferred NIS 120 million to the PA at the end of March to help it fight the coronavirus when the security authorities said the Authority’s financial crisis could cause the PA to collapse.