newsIsrael-Palestinian Conflict

Israel failed to freeze at least $5 million in PA terror funds yearly

The Shin Bet and Defense Ministry have not revised their intelligence on Ramallah's "Martyrs' Fund" since 2018.

Palestinian Authority chief Mahmoud Abbas speaks during a meeting in the city of Ramallah, July 25, 2019. Phot by Flash90.
Palestinian Authority chief Mahmoud Abbas speaks during a meeting in the city of Ramallah, July 25, 2019. Phot by Flash90.

Israel’s security establishment has for years failed to update its data on Palestinian Authority terror payments, resulting in Jerusalem failing to withhold tax revenues that should be offset under legislation passed by the Knesset, Walla reported Tuesday.

According to the outlet, the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) and the Headquarters for Economic Warfare have not revised their intelligence on Ramallah’s “Martyrs’ Fund” since 2018. The difference was said to amount to at least 20 million shekels ($5.5 million) yearly.

Citing a source present at the Cabinet meeting where the issue was discussed, Walla said the Defense Ministry would review the data to examine whether there is room to increase the offset of funds.

Jerusalem collects 600 million-700 million shekels ($166 million-$194 million) in tax and tariff revenue on behalf of the P.A. every month under the terms of the Oslo Accords, signed with the PLO in the 1990s.

Almost 1 billion shekels ($278 million) yearly goes towards the “pay for slay” policy, under which Ramallah disburses monthly stipends to terrorists and their families, legal documents indicated last month.

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

The “Martyrs’ Fund” is enshrined in P.A. law, granting convicted terrorists or their families a right to receive payments as long as they live.

Since Hamas’s Oct. 7 massacre in Israeli communities near the Gaza Strip, the P.A. has added thousands of Palestinians to its list of people who qualify to receive terror stipends, an Israeli watchdog reported earlier this year.

P.A. officials announced that 3,550 terrorists imprisoned in Israel will receive payouts, as will the families of more than 20,000 slain “martyrs,” the Jerusalem-based Palestine Media Watch reported.

Of the 3,550 terrorists slated to receive payouts, 661 are Hamas terrorists from Gaza. The remainder are Palestinians arrested in almost daily Israeli counterterror operations throughout Judea and Samaria.

“The nearly 67% rise in the number of prisoners will initially cost the P.A. an additional $1,331,000 per month (4,970,000 shekels), adding $16 million to last year’s expenditure of $161 million (600,000,000 shekels) on terror salaries,” PMW reported.

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