(February 19, 2018 / JNS) Israel’s Ministerial Committee for Legislation advanced a bill on Sunday to withhold funds from tax revenues Israel collects on behalf of the Palestinian Authority to offset payments made by the P.A. to the families of terrorists.
Incarcerated and released terrorists received 550 million shekels ($155.6 million) from the P.A., while families of killed and injured terrorists received 687 million shekels ($194.3 million). These payments account for approximately 7 percent of the P.A.’s total annual budget.
Payments for terrorists are issued monthly, with those receiving sentences of three to five years being allocated 2,000 shekels ($566) a month and those receiving 20- to 35-year sentences earning 10,000 shekels ($2829) per month for life. Married terrorists get a bonus of 300 shekels ($85) per month, with an additional 50 shekels ($14) monthly per child.
The bill requires the security cabinet to decide monthly whether to dock the taxes and tariffs Israel collects for the Authority. The cabinet could also opt to freeze the funds and pay later, or not to deduct any funds at all.
Funds that are withheld from the P.A. would instead be paid into a fund for families of victims of terror.
Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who initiated the bill, touted it as working to end the “theater of absurd,” where funds transferred from Israel to the P.A. are then paid out to terrorists.
The P.A. issued a statement blasting the law as “a piracy, a theft of money, and yet another crime added to the Israeli occupations’ ongoing crimes committed against the Palestinian people,” and stated that “the [Palestinian Authority] government affirmed that such a decision is invalid under international law.”