Israel to cut 600 Million shekels from Palestinian authority over payments to terrorists families

Israel to cut 600 Million shekels from Palestinian authority over payments to terrorists families

Israel’s security cabinet voted to cut 600 million shekels ($176 million) from its tax transfers to the Palestinian Authority on Sunday – the same amount the PA transfers to convicted terrorists and their families.

The money will be deducted from Israel’s tax transfers in 12 monthly installments over the coming year. These deductions are mandated by law.

The legislation in question requires the defense minister to prepare an annual report on how much of the PA’s spending is “affiliated with terror.” The cabinet must then approve the report, after which an equivalent sum is deducted from the tax transfers.

Meretz Chairman Nitzan Horowitz abstained in the cabinet vote, calling the deductions a charade, since Israel will in any case give the PA an equivalent amount of money in special funding, as it has in the past, due to the authority’s financial straits. He also said the law constrains the government and could undermine both civilian and security cooperation with the PA.

During the cabinet debate, an argument arose between Labor Party Chairwoman Merav Michaeli and former Prime Minister Naftali Bennett. “There’s a better chance than ever before that the Palestinian Authority will stop its payments to terrorists,” said Michaeli, who supported the deductions. “Therefore, it’s worth holding a diplomatic dialogue with the PA on this issue.”

Bennett countered that the payments to terrorists and their families aren’t an issue Israel should discuss with the PA. But Michaeli responded that this issue can only be resolved through diplomatic talks with the Palestinians and argued that by doing so, Israel could win a victory.

Nabil Rudeineh, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ spokesman, decried the decision as “robbery, and the behavior of pirates,” and vowed that “this decision will not change anything” when it comes to Palestinian prisoners and their families.

The secretary general of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s Executive Committee, Hussein al-Sheikh, widely touted as Abbas’ potential successor, also slammed the decision: “The Israeli government continues to rob the Palestinian people of money and continues its economic blockade.”

Source: Haaretz