(December 19, 2018 / JNS) Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Lieberman and four members of his party presented a bill to the Knesset on Tuesday seeking to deduct the amount of money the Palestinian Authority pays terrorists and their families from tax revenues Israel collects for the Palestinian Authority, aiming to amend the current policy of merely freezing the funds.
The current law, authored by Knesset members Avi Dichter (Likud) and Elazar Stern (Yesh Atid), was enacted only six months ago. Stern said the frozen Palestinian tax revenue would be set aside, giving the Israeli government discretion on whether to ultimately hand it over to the Palestinians at a later date.
The policy was enacted to combat the Palestinian practice of paying wages to the families of terrorists who are killed while perpetrating attacks or are jailed in Israeli prisons.
A previous version of the legislation stipulated the money would go to Israeli victims of Palestinian attacks, but it was scrapped due to potential legal complications.
The introduction to the Yisrael Beytenu bill explains that the proposed legislation is “designed to rectify the absurd situation in which rather than deducting the money paid for terrorism against the citizens of Israel, the Israeli government opens a ‘savings account’ for the Palestinian Authority, which will only be used to increase terrorism.”
The introduction also says that the recent spike in Palestinian terrorist attacks “shows that that salaries the P.A. pays to terrorists provides an incentive for new terrorists to murder innocent Jewish civilians, knowing that they and their families will receive monetary compensation for the rest of their lives.”
The Defense Ministry recently reported the amounts of money that the P.A. pays to terrorists and their relatives, revealing that the killers of the Salomon and Henkin families would each receive more than 10 million shekels ($2.7 million) during the course of their lives.
MK Robert Ilatov, chairman of the Yisrael Beytenu faction, noted that “unfortunately, despite all the combative declarations, the existing law is entirely devoid of meaning.”
He said “the government added a softening clause and froze [the funds], which I vigorously opposed. Currently, no funds are deducted. The money is frozen and being kept in a savings account for terrorists. This ineffectual policy encourages terrorism instead of eliminating it—certainly when the currently government’s policy is to reward terrorism, just like they are doing every month in Gaza when they regularly transfer 15 million shekels [$4 million] to Hamas.”