Israeli soldiers block the entrance to the village of Beita in northern Samaria during searches for the terrorist who carried out an attack in Huwara, on Aug. 20, 2023. Photo by Nasser Ishtayeh/Flash90.
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‘IDF did not divert troops to Judea and Samaria before Oct. 7’
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Forces in Samaria were reinforced as part of a quarterly IDF schedule approved some two months before the Hamas massacre, according to an internal military document.
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The Israel Defense Forces did not redeploy troops from the Gaza border to Judea and Samaria in the days leading up to Hamas's Oct. 7 massacre, according to an internal military document published on Tuesday.

In December, Dan Harel, who headed the IDF's Southern Command during the 2005 Gaza disengagement and was later promoted to deputy chief of staff, cast blame on Religious Zionism Party Knesset member Zvi Sukkot for the army's lack of preparedness on Oct. 7. Harel claimed that forces were moved from the Gaza border to Huwara in Samaria to protect a protest tent set up by the lawmaker.

Sukkot had set up the Jewish sukkah in the flashpoint Arab town on Oct. 5 after a series of Palestinian attacks, including a terror shooting that targeted an Israeli man, his pregnant wife and their 18-month-old child.

Harel's remarks took a life on their own, with pro-Palestinian activists on social media spreading the claim that Hamas terrorists succeeded in murdering 1,200 people on Oct. 7 because the border was unprotected due to the need to protect Jewish "settlers" in Judea and Samaria.

To dispel the claim, Samaria Regional Council head Yossi Dagan filed a request under Israel's Freedom of Information Law demanding the release of documents relating to the IDF's manpower considerations.

Israel Hayom on Tuesday published records indicating that no Israeli troops were transferred from the Gaza border area to Samaria on Oct. 6.

The document proves that the transfer of the forces to reinforcement positions in Samaria was part of a quarterly IDF schedule approved some two months before the Hamas massacre, and amid an uptick in deadly terror attacks in the areas surrounding Huwara, according to the daily.

Dagan decried what he called the "tarnishing of the communities and the false impression that there is some responsibility for the massacre, by claiming that the pioneering residents of Judea and Samaria are sinning by settling the Land of Israel and wanting to live in safety."

Dagan demanded that those responsible for spreading "immense hatred in a time of war" issue an apology to Judea and Samaria communities.

Sukkot told Israel Hayom, "It is unbelievable that during the difficult days of the most difficult war in our history, individuals were making false accusations against the residents of Judea and Samaria and myself personally. I am happy that the truth has come out."

In December, IDF Spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari stressed that there was no substantial change in the number of soldiers securing the Gaza frontier ahead of the Oct. 7 cross-border onslaught.

"The deployment of the forces that carry out regular operational activities [on the border of] the Gaza Strip did not change before Oct. 7," Hagari told reporters at a press conference.

Judea and Samaria saw a dramatic rise in Palestinian terrorist attacks in 2023 compared to the previous year, with shootings reaching their highest level since the Second Intifada of 2000-05, per IDF data.

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The Biden administration floats the idea that they may negotiate with Hamas for the release of hostages with U.S. citizenship behind Israel's back and pushes a Security Council Resolution that will result in the Jewish state's defeat; the country's north gets bombarded with Hezbollah rockets over Shavuot; and Caroline outlines what victory over Iran-backed terrorism looks like.

All this and more on Caroline Glick’s “In-Focus!”

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Is it time for the Jews of Britain, Europe and America to leave?

This question is increasingly being asked by Diaspora Jews reeling from the volcano of antisemitism that erupted with the Palestinian pogrom in southern Israel on Oct. 7 and has continued to spread its lethal effluent over the world.

To Jews in Israel, the answer is obvious. Of course, it’s time for Diaspora Jews to leave, they say. How can this even be a question?

It’s certainly impossible to ignore the astonishing scale and nature of the Jew-hatred now manifesting itself across Western societies.

This has progressed far beyond the pro-Hamas demonstrations in Western cities and on campus that are continuing to spread incitement, intimidation and violence against Jews with minimal pushback from law enforcement, administrators or politicians. Jew-hatred and the campaign to destroy the Jewish state have become mainstream.

In New York this week, the homes of the Jewish director of the Brooklyn Museum and its Jewish board members were vandalized with red paint and graffiti that included inverted red triangles, the symbol by which Hamas marks its intended victims for murder.

Two days earlier, outside an exhibit in Lower Manhattan commemorating the hundreds who were slaughtered at the Supernova music festival during the Oct. 7 atrocities, hundreds of Hamas supporters lit flares and shouted: “Long live the intifada” and “Israel, go to hell.” 

On the New York subway, a keffiyeh-masked mob on a train shouted: “Zionists identify yourselves, this is your chance to get out.” When they declared: “OK, no Zionists, we’re good,” there were cheers.

In Britain, an opinion poll revealed that 54% of respondents aged 18 to 24 agreed with the statement: “The State of Israel should not exist.”

When an El Al flight landed at London’s Heathrow Airport, a customs officer who noticed an Israeli flag on a piece of luggage pulled all the passengers from that flight into a room to have their luggage specially scanned. According to the UK Lawyers for Israel, when one of the passengers said: “We are Jewish, why are you doing this to us?” the official replied: “I am a customs officer, and I can do whatever I want.”

In the first three months of this year, French authorities registered 366 antisemitic attacks—a 300% increase over the same period last year, while the number of antisemitic acts recorded in 2023 was quadruple the figure for the year before. In May, Normandy police shot dead a man suspected of attempting to burn down a synagogue in Rouen. In April, a Jewish woman in a Paris suburb was kidnapped, reportedly raped and threatened with murder by an attacker who wanted to “avenge Palestine.”

According to Sammy Ghozlan, president of the National Office for Vigilance against Antisemitism, almost all violent antisemitic acts in France for more than two decades have been committed by Muslims.

Left-wing parties across Europe are increasingly genuflecting to the Muslim agenda. In France, the main left-wing party La France Insoumise is virulently anti-Israel, and its leader, Jean-Luc Mélenchon, calls Hamas a “resistance” movement.

In Britain, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer is attempting to balance his pledge to make the party safe for Jews with the vicious anti-Israel feeling rampant among his members and Britain’s Muslim community. His deputy was filmed groveling to Muslims in her constituency and promising to “recognize a state of Palestine.” 

The party’s election manifesto says “Palestinian statehood is the inalienable right of the Palestinian people” and that it is “not in the gift of any neighbor.” It commits Labour to recognizing a Palestinian state “as a contribution to a renewed peace process which results in a two-state solution with a safe and secure Israel alongside a viable and sovereign Palestinian state,” which leaves up in the air the question of whether a Labour government would recognize “Palestine” unilaterally or not.

Regardless of such ambiguity, since British Muslims number some 4 million compared to a mere 280,000 affiliated Jews the idea that a Labour government would resist the increasingly brazen anti-Israel and anti-West Muslim agenda is a fantasy.

All of this obviously strikes a frightening historic nerve. The refusal of the Jews of Europe to realize the Nazi threat until it was too late is burned into Jewish consciousness.

Today’s situation, however, is different. Unlike in Nazi Germany, the antisemitism rampant in the West today isn’t state-sponsored. It is the product instead of an alliance between the hard-left, woolly liberals and the Muslim world. The threat is therefore not limited to a regime based in one specific country. It is instead something more insidious—a war from both inside and outside the West against both the Jews and Western civilization.

The second big difference is that a pushback against the wellspring of all this is now underway in Europe. In last week’s elections to the European Parliament, a variety of “populist,” anti-immigration or “hard-right” parties made record gains.

In Britain, where according to the opinion polls Labour is on course to win the general election on July 4 by a huge majority, a similar revolt is under way. This is spearheaded by Nigel Farage, who galvanized millions of British citizens to vote for Brexit and who stormed back into frontline politics less than two weeks ago as head of the hitherto insignificant Reform Party.

Denouncing the Conservatives for having failed to stop uncontrolled immigration and Islamization, for having done nothing to combat intimidatory identity politics and for having committed Britain to the ruinous Net Zero green agenda, Farage is poised to pounce in the event of a predicted Tory wipeout at the election and become leader of a transformed conservative movement.

Although these “populist” parties are all very different from each other, they have one big thing in common. Like Donald Trump in America, they represent an insurgency against an entire political establishment that ignores, scorns or punishes eminently reasonable and indeed necessary concerns over Islamization and mass immigration, the growth of coerced cultural conformity and the erosion of the rule of law.

Diaspora Jews tend to hold their noses at anything on “the right” because they associate “the right” with antisemitism. They need to wake up fast. While there are certainly troubling increases in neo-fascist groups, the main threat to the Jews today is posed overwhelmingly by left-wingers and Muslims.

Some European “populist” parties are indeed unsavory. Others are merely authentically conservative. Most support Israel, although some have troubling antisemitic roots.

In other words, this is a mixed picture. And as a result, the pushback against those determined to destroy the West is likely to be messy and complicated.

Whether or not it’s time to uproot is a personal decision. However, Jews remaining in the Diaspora will find themselves having to choose between the devil and the deep-blue sea. Quite apart from any dangers, the political choices they face are likely to make for an uncomfortable ride.

This alarming situation didn’t suddenly burst out of nowhere on Oct. 7. The writing has been on this particular wall for decades. But most Diaspora Jews refused to see it.

In America, the majority of Jews have actually signed up for the liberal ideas that are driving anti-Israel hysteria and Jew-hatred. In Britain, most Jews have been too frightened, too craven or too muddled to talk publicly about the threat from Muslim antisemitism and mass immigration.

Of course, Diaspora Jews can reasonably point out that, at present, Israel is hardly a safe haven. And unfortunately, there may well be yet more horrors for that beleaguered little country to endure.

But Israel is where everyone knows what they’re fighting for. It’s where there is zero ambiguity about their enemy or its genocidal intention. It’s where the overwhelming majority understand that they are living through another seismic moment in the sacred history of their people. It’s why they know they have no alternative but to win.

That’s why Israel will survive. The same cannot be said for the West.

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A corpse found on Thursday in the Sha'ar Hanegev region, adjacent to the northeastern Gaza Strip, is most likely that of a Hamas terrorist who took part in the Oct. 7 massacre, the Israel Police says.

A civilian discovered the remains, which were said to be in a state of "advanced decay," at an intersection where terrorists murdered at least 26 people on Oct. 7.

Alongside the body, security forces located an empty combat vest and a shirt with Arabic letters on it. The writing on the shirt appeared to be the symbol of Hamas's "military" wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades.

https://twitter.com/GLZRadio/status/1801209642074169748

Police are still waiting for the full results of the identification process at the L. Greenberg National Institute of Forensic Medicine in Tel Aviv, also known as the Abu Kabir Forensic Institute.

"The suspicion is that this is a Hamas terrorist who was killed during the attack," the Israel Police said in a statement on Thursday afternoon.

On Oct. 7, 2023, some 3,000 Hamas-led terrorists invaded Israel by land, sea and air, killing about 1,200 people, kidnapping 251 people back to Gaza and terrorizing hundreds of thousands more by using rape and torture as a weapon while temporarily conquering several Israeli communities.

Israeli security forces killed around a thousand of the terrorists who crossed the border fence that day and captured many others.

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Did the stunning Israeli operation that rescued four hostages from Hamas captivity in Gaza change the trajectory of the war against the terrorist organization? Has it unified Israelis around Netanyahu?

Should this affect whether the Israeli government should consider hostages-for-ceasefire deals being offered by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, President Joe Biden or Hamas?

JNS senior contributing editor Ruthie Blum and former Israeli ambassador to the United Kingdom Mark Regev cover the heroic rescue operation, hostage talks and incessant Hezbollah attacks in the north.

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Israel will overcome its enemies on the Jewish state's southern and northern borders and return residents to their homes in evacuated communities, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Thursday.

During a joint visit with National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir to the Israel Border Police's Yamam National Counter-Terrorism Unit, Netanyahu hailed the operation that freed four hostages from captivity on June 8.

"You caused an entire nation to stand tall, and you showed that we are willing to do everything to rescue our hostages," he said. "The same bravery, the same determination, the same devotion to the mission will allow us to overcome our enemies in the south and the north.

"I come here to say on behalf of the entire people, and also on behalf of all of Israel's friends worldwide, I come to tell you: Well done," he said. "Congratulations on your bravery; congratulations on what you did."

In addition to Ben-Gvir, Netanyahu's military secretary, Maj.-Gen. Roman Gofman, Israel Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai and Israel Border Police commander Asst.-Ch. Barik Yitzhak also participated in the visit.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir meet the Israel Border Police's elite Yamam counterterrorism unit, June 13, 2024. Photo by Maayan Toaf/GPO.

Ben-Gvir told the Yamam officers, "You raised the honor of the State of Israel, you raised our pride, and above all, you told our enemies that we can come and free our hostages—anywhere, at any time.

"On this day, we feel the pain of the Zamora family; we will not forget our dear Arnon, but we will always remember that these fighters are at the forefront of the State of Israel," he said. "Our role is to back them up, and with the help of God, may the Holy One bless them so they can continue doing many such actions and bring the hostages home to us."

Ch. Insp. Arnon Zamora, 36, a Yamam squad commander, was mortally wounded during the Saturday operation to rescue hostages Noa Argamani, Almog Meir Jan, Andrey Kozlov and Shlomi Ziv from Hamas captivity in the Nuseirat Camp in the central Gaza Strip.

"I'm here at the Yamam base. I just met our wonderful fighters who rescued the hostages from the jaws of the enemy," Netanyahu said in a video statement following the visit. "Unfortunately, this heroic operation claimed the life of a fighter, commander and wonderful person, the late Arnon Zamora. We named the operation after him, Operation Arnon.

"I saw the troops; I saw the determination, the bravery and dedication to the mission in their eyes. That bravery, the same determination, the same dedication will allow us to overcome our enemy both in the south and in the north and return residents safely to their homes," the prime minister said.

https://twitter.com/netanyahu/status/1801274936679379091

Earlier on Thursday, Hezbollah launched 150 rockets and 30 drones towards northern Israel from Lebanon, in what the Iran-backed terrorist group described as "the largest and most comprehensive attack" since it joined the war in support of Gaza-based Hamas on Oct. 8.

“Lebanon and Hezbollah, under the guidance of Iran, bear full responsibility for the deterioration of the security situation in the north,” Israeli government spokesperson David Mencer said in response.

"Whether through diplomatic efforts or otherwise—Israel will restore security on our northern border," added the spokesperson.

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Morrie Markoff, considered to be the oldest man in the United States, died on June 3 in downtown Los Angeles. He was 110 years old.

He attributed his long life to regular walks—he and his wife would stroll three miles a day into their 90s—simple eating and generally avoiding alcohol, as well as water from plastic bottles, which he believed were "poison," according to his daughter Judith Markoff Hansen.

Markoff was born in New York City on Jan. 11, 1914, six months before the start of World War I, The New York Times reported in its obituary.

People who live to the age of 110 or older are “supercentenarians.” The Gerontology Research Group lists more than 150 such people around the world.

Markoff became the oldest living man in America after the death of Francis Zouein in January at the age of 113.

His daughter said that when he learned he was on the top of the list, “He just smiled and said, ‘Well, someone’s got to be there.’”

Markoff was noteworthy not only for his long life but for his mental health. He read The Los Angeles Times daily, talked about world events and posted on his blog, according to news reports.

His brain has been donated for research on “super-aging.”

His mental acuity at such an advanced age makes his brain of value to science, said Tish Hevel, chief executive of the Brain Donor Project, a Florida nonprofit affiliated with the National Institutes of Health.

“There is a critical need for this tissue for neuroscience research,” Hevel said. “One in five of us now has some kind of neurological disease or disorder, so many of which develop late in life. Scientists stand to learn so much from Mr. Markoff’s tissue about remaining healthy far into old age. It is an incredible gift he gives us.”

Morrie Markoff at his 109th birthday celebration. Credit: Courtesy of the Markoff family.

Married for 81 years

Markoff was born in a tenement in East Harlem, N.Y., one of four children of Russian Jewish immigrants Max and Rose Markoff.

The family of six lived in a 400-square-foot (37-square-meter) apartment with no closets, hot water or toilet. It was infested with vermin and bed bugs. “The burning of bed springs was a yearly ritual among tenement dwellers,” he wrote in his 2017 autobiography, Keep Breathing: Recollections From a 103-Year-Old.

He survived the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic, which took the life of a brother.

Markoff moved to Los Angeles in the late 1930s to work for a vacuum-cleaner company. His girlfriend, Betty Goldmintz, joined him from New York. They wed on Nov. 4, 1938, and their marriage lasted 81 years until her death in 2019.

In 1943, he worked as a machinist for a defense contractor that made artillery shells. He eventually opened a series of small-appliance businesses in Los Angeles with a partner, the Times reported.

Markoff started sculpting in 1960, a passion he discovered while fixing a toilet when he realized the broken fixture resembled a ballerina’s tutu. At 100, he had his first gallery exhibition in Los Angeles.

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Two Israelis sustained light wounds on Thursday when rocket shrapnel fell in Katzrin, the largest Israeli community in the Golan Heights.

The victims, who were both said to be in their 20s, were treated by Magen David Adom medics and paramedics before being evacuated to Ziv Medical Center in the nearby city of Safed, the medical emergency response group tweeted.

Hezbollah terrorists in Southern Lebanon fired more than 100 rockets in the latest barrage, with direct hits and major damage reported across the Golan and Galilee.

Air-raid sirens blared incessantly in northern Israel on Thursday, warning of incoming rocket and missile fire, as well as suicide drones.

As of 3 p.m., seven "suspicious aerial targets" had attempted to penetrate the country's skies, four of which were intercepted by air-defense systems, the IDF said.

Amid the escalation, schools in the Golan Heights and Safed were closed, with institutions in the latter city forced to stop matriculation exams as students rushed to shelter.

The rocket barrages sparked new fires throughout the northern region, including in Safed, with the Israel Fire and Rescue Services reporting blazes in at least 10 locations.

https://twitter.com/HenMazzig/status/1801217727060697437

The Iran-backed Hezbollah terrorist organization has attacked northern Israel nearly every day since joining the war in support of Hamas on Oct. 8, killing more than 20 people and causing widespread damage. Tens of thousands of Israelis remain internally displaced due to the violence.

A Hezbollah terrorist official told Qatar's Al Jazeera channel that Thursday's attack marked "the largest and most comprehensive attack" since Oct. 8, claiming the group launched 150 missiles and 30 drones.

On Wednesday, as Israeli families celebrated the festival of Shavuot (the "Feast of Weeks"), Hezbollah launched more than 200 rockets at the Jewish state in one of the heaviest attacks in recent months.

The attacks on civilian population centers came after the Israeli Air Force's targeted killing of Hezbollah commander Sami Taleb Abdullah, who headed the Nasr Unit, or "Victory Force," one of the terror group's three divisions in Southern Lebanon, responsible for the eastern sector.

The United States is very concerned about the situation on the Israel-Lebanon border escalating further into full-out war, a senior Biden administration official told the Reuters press agency on Thursday.

"We have had consistent and urgent conversations at different times with Israel and Lebanon over the eight months, from the very beginning of this crisis, ... to keep this from developing into a full-out war that could have implications to beyond elsewhere in the region," said the official.

Jerusalem's powerful War Cabinet—which currently consists of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, in addition to two observers—was set to meet on Thursday night to discuss the situation in the north.

The broader Security Cabinet is scheduled to meet in Jerusalem at 9 p.m. on Sunday.

"Lebanon and Hezbollah, under the guidance of Iran, bear full responsibility for the deterioration of the security situation in the north," Israeli government spokesperson David Mencer said on Thursday.

"Whether through diplomatic efforts or otherwise—Israel will restore security on our northern border," added the spokesperson.

The IDF Home Front Command is prepared for a full-out war with Hezbollah, commander Maj. Gen. Rafi Milo reiterated on Sunday.

"If the IDF needs to go to war in the north, we are ready. We have made great efforts to achieve this in recent months," the Home Front Command head stated at the MuniWorld Conference in Tel Aviv.

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To mark Eid al-Adha (“Feast of the Sacrifice”), a Muslim holiday that marks the Hajj, or pilgrimage to Mecca, Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics released data about the Muslim population of Israel.

At the end of 2023, the Muslim population of Israel was estimated at 1.782 million, (18.1% of all residents)—an increase of 35,000 compared with the end of 2022.

The annual growth rate of the Muslim population in 2023 was 2.0% (2.2% in 2022).

The total fertility rate (the average number of children that a woman is expected to bear in her lifetime) in Israel’s Muslim population has been on a downward trend since 2001.

In 2022, the rate reached 2.91 children per woman, compared to 3.03 children for a Jewish woman, 1.85 for a Druze woman, 1.68 for a Christian woman and 1.26 for women not classified by religion.

Jerusalem has the largest number of Muslim residents (380,000), comprising 21.3% of all Muslims in Israel and 38.1% of the city’s residents.

The Muslim population is young: The proportion of children aged 0–14 is high (31.9%), and the proportion of persons aged 65 and over is low (4.9%).

Approximately 26% of the households headed by Muslims have six or more persons, compared with only about 9% of the households headed by Jews.

The life expectancy of Muslims in 2022 was 77.0 years for men and 81.8 for women.

In 2022-23, there were 399,282 Muslim students in primary and secondary education. (Of those students, 6,778 were enrolled in Hebrew education and the rest were enrolled in Arabic education).

Of the Muslim women, 41.9% went on to study for a bachelor's degree within eight years of graduating high school, more than twice the percentage of Muslim men (19.3%).

The labor force participation rate among Muslims aged 15 and over in 2023 was 48.8% (63.7% among males and 34.0% among females).

In 2020-2021, there was a 20.6% increase among Muslim persons judged in trials, compared to an 11.9% increase among non-Muslim persons judged.

In 2021, the rate of convictions in criminal trials among the Muslim population in Israel was 2.7 times higher than among the non-Muslim population of Israel (565 versus 210 per 100,000 persons, respectively).

The most prevalent offences were against public order (26.3%), against human life and bodily harm (21.6%) and property offences (18.6%).

In 2023, 3,800 Muslims were injured in road accidents (23.9% of all casualties). Of these, 90 were killed, 647 were seriously injured and 3,063 were slightly injured.

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  • Words count:
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Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich has ordered his office to deduct 130 million shekels ($35 million) from tax and tariff revenue collected on behalf of the Palestinian Authority and redirect it to families of terror victims.

The monies will be transferred to 28 families who have won lawsuits against the P.A. over its financial backing of attacks against Israelis, Smotrich, who is also the leader of the Religious Zionism Party, told Arutz 7 on Thursday.

"This week, I signed an order to transfer millions of shekels to the families of terror victims," he said. "The Palestinian Authority continues to tell the world that it is on the verge of collapse and continues paying the families of terrorists and transferring money for terror.

"The minimum of the minimum [we can do] is to transfer compensation to the families of terror victims from these funds," added the minister.

Smotrich's decision puts an end to years of delay on the part of the government. In some cases, families had been waiting to receive the funds for 20 years, despite Israeli courts ruling that the Palestinian Authority was responsible for their loved ones' deaths.

The newspaper noted that in addition to the 28 families expected to be compensated this week, hundreds of other lawsuits are still pending.

Jerusalem collects 600 million-700 million shekels ($161 million-$188 million) in tax funds on behalf of the P.A. every month under the terms of the Oslo Accords, signed with the PLO in the 1990s.

The Protocol on Economic Relations, aka the Paris Protocol, was signed in April 1994 and incorporated with minor changes into the Oslo II Accord of September 1995.

Almost one billion shekels ($278 million) in yearly tax revenue that Israel collects on behalf of the P.A. goes towards its "pay for slay" policy, under which it disburses monthly stipends to terrorists and their relatives.

In 2018, lawmakers from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's ruling Likud Party initiated and promoted legislation to offset the sum to put pressure on the Palestinian Authority to stop rewarding terrorism.

Smotrich's decision to transfer the funds joins a series of steps taken by the finance minister to punish the Palestinian Authority for its support of terrorism and diplomatic measures against the Jewish state.

Last month, he announced his intention to immediately halt the transfer of all tax revenue to the P.A. following its push for statehood and support for the International Criminal Court case against Israel.

"The Palestinians are working against Israel with political terrorism and promoting unilateral measures around the world—I cannot continue to transfer funds to them. If this causes the P.A. to collapse, let it collapse," Smotrich said.

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