(February 22, 2019 / JNS) Not long after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that Israel would begin deducting $138 million of terror funding from the tax money that it collects on behalf of the Palestinian Authority each month, Mahmoud Abbas announced that the P.A. would refuse all of the tax money it was owed.
“This wasn’t the first time that claim was made,” said Palestinian Media Watch’s Maurice Hirsch.
Indeed, P.A. chief Abbas has been threatening to do so for several weeks.
And again on Wednesday, while addressing a delegation of J Street advocacy group and U.S. Congressmen in Ramallah, Abbas again announced that he “will not take any deducted funds” from Israel.
According to Eugene Kontorovich, director of International Law at the Jerusalem-based Kohelet Policy Forum and professor of International Law at George Mason University in Washington, D.C., “Abbas’s refusal to accept transfers of customs funds from Israel reveals the priorities of the Palestinian Authority: It values funding terrorism above all else, and engineers suffering for its own people as a diplomatic weapon against Israel.”
He continued, saying “Israel’s withholding of tax revenues that the P.A. uses to pay terrorists is entirely reasonable, and the P.A.’s response is to honestly admit that the pay-to-slay program is its raison d’être.”
So far, Israel has only decided to deduct funds that go to Palestinian terrorists incarcerated in jail. It has yet to deduct funds that go to “martyrs” and their families.