Why is Israel ignoring its own law against ‘pay for slay’? Bereaved families petition High Court

“This is a moral outrage and a violation of the law,” said the Lavi organization.

By World Israel News Staff

A group of bereaved families together with several Zionist organizations submitted a petition on Sunday to Israel’s High Court of Justice demanding that the government implement its law designed to punish the Palestinian Authority’s “pay-for-slay” policy.

Israel collects taxes on behalf of the Palestinian Authority (PA) as agreed to in the 1994 Protocol on Economic Relations, or Paris Protocol.

The law requires the government to deduct the amount of money that the PA gives to terrorists and their families from the taxes Israel collects for the PA.

On Dec. 2, 2020, Israel turned over 3.77 billion shekels ($1.12 billion) in tax and customs revenues. It failed to deduct the 600 million shekels ($166 million) in stipends the PA pays to terrorists and their families despite a 2018 Knesset law requiring the government to do so.

In that year, Israel estimated 600 million shekels went to terror stipends. However, it failed to deduct that amount from the total.

This year, the amount is not yet known as the defense minister has not yet fulfilled his duty as required by the law to present a report to the security cabinet detailing how much the PA has handed over to terrorists.

Read  Israeli minister prepares major sanctions on PA after statehood push

Once the report is approved by the security cabinet, that sum is deducted from the PA taxes in the following year.

According to the groups who signed the petition, the PA provided some 502 million shekels to terrorists in 2020 alone.

The petition was submitted by attorney Yitzhak Bam on behalf of Merav and Herzl Hajaj, the parents of Lt. Shir Hajaj, who was murdered in 2017; Major (res.) Shai Maimon, who was injured in a 2015 terrorist attack in which Malachi Rosenfeld was murdered; the Lavi organization, the Choosing Life Forum of Bereaved Families, Im Tirtzu, and The Legal Forum for the Land of Israel.

Eytan Meir, director of external relations & development for Im Tirtzu, tells World Israel News: “Unfortunately, it seems that the government prefers to pay blood money to the Palestinian Authority rather than do what’s correct and risk stirring the pot. This cowardly approach is dangerous and puts Israeli lives at risk.”

“This is a moral outrage and a violation of the law,” said the Lavi organization in a statement. “The State of Israel has an obligation to prevent the PA from rewarding the murderers of Jews, and we demand that the Prime Minister and the Defense Minister act in accordance with the law.”

Read  Israeli minister prepares major sanctions on PA after statehood push

The Choosing Life Forum of Bereaved Families also called on the government to “stop its habit of promising to combat terrorism while simultaneously doing everything in its power to financially aid the PA and to harm deterrence by preventing the implementation of the ‘pay-for-slay’ law.”

Major (res.) Shai Maimon dubbed it “an absurd situation in which there is an explicit law requiring the government to punish the PA for supporting terrorism, yet the government is disregarding it. It’s a pity that we need to petition the High Court in order for the government to carry out the law, but we have no other choice.”

The Legal Division of the Zionist watchdog group Im Tirtzu said: “The Israeli public is fed up with a Defense Minister who acts in a cowardly manner. We call on him to present the security cabinet with all the material that will enable it to prevent the transfer of money to those who murdered Jews.”

Attorney Yotam Eyal, CEO of the Legal Forum for the Land of Israel, noted: “The number one interest of the State of Israel is to protect its citizens and not to provide funding to those who wish to harm them.”