Israeli security forces raided the eastern Jerusalem homes of 16 current and former Palestinian security prisoners on Monday who had received terror stipends from the Palestinian Authority, confiscating hundreds of thousands of shekels in cash and property.
The seizures included 270,000 shekels (more than $74,000) in cash, six vehicles, one motorcycle, jewelry and gold, according to police. Sixteen bank accounts worth hundreds of thousands of shekels were also in the process of being confiscated.
“All the funds and property that were allegedly received by the Palestinian Authority for those involved in acts of terrorism in the past and their families and were actually used as terrorist funds were seized by order of the Minister of Defense, and are destined for confiscation,” police said.
Ramallah pays stipends to imprisoned Palestinian terrorists and to the families of dead terrorists. Israeli officials say the payouts provide incentives for terror and regularly withhold an equivalent amount from taxes that Israel collects on behalf of the P.A.
The P.A. is legally mandated to allocate seven percent of its annual budget for its so-called “Martyr’s Fund,” which provides stipends to Palestinian terrorists in Israeli prisons, and the families of terrorists killed in attacks. The size of the monthly payouts depends on various factors, such as how many Israelis were killed, how long the terrorist has been incarcerated and family size.
Ramallah has been paying out stipends for years, but the issue came under a spotlight following the murder of Taylor Force, a U.S. citizen, by a Palestinian in Jaffa in 2018. Congress passed the Taylor Force Act, which halted U.S. aid to the Palestinians as long as terror stipends are being paid out.
American assistance to the P.A. resumed under the administration of U.S. President Joe Biden. In December 2022, American victims of Palestinian terror filed a lawsuit against the president and Secretary of State Antony Blinken, arguing that the payments violate the Taylor Force Act.