While the PA paid terrorists and their families more than $347 million in 2017, it increased terror incentives by $56 million to $403 million for 2018.
A bill that would slash funding to the Palestinian Authority (PA) according to the sum the PA pays out to convicted terrorists and their families was approved in its first reading by the Knesset plenum on Monday.
Fifty-two lawmakers supported the bill, introduced by Member of Knesset (MK) Elazar Stern, which would deduct payments paid out by the PA to Palestinian prisoners and their relatives from tax revenues Israel transfers annually to the PA. Only 10 lawmakers voted against the legislation.
Israel collects an estimated $2.1 billion in tax revenues for the PA, in accordance with the 1994 Paris Protocol, which governs economic relations with the PA, including import taxes on goods passing through Israel to the Palestinians.
During the discussion on the bill, MK Avi Dichter said that the Palestinian Authority (PA) has increased its payments to terrorists and their families by nearly $56 million in 2018.
Avi Dichter, former Shin Bet (Israel’s Security Agency) head and current Head of the Defense and Foreign Affairs Committee, pointed out that PA head Mahmoud Abbas authorized the 2018 PA budget on Sunday, and that there is a PA law that allocates 7 percent of each budget to paying terrorists, or to their families, if they are killed during the attack.
The PA paid terrorists and their families more than $347 million in 2017. The sum will now jump to $403 million.
Dichter explained that the increase “means that the PA will employ more terrorists as PA workers. Except that the terrorists who work for the PA have a special quality – they are employed both as dead and living terrorists.”
Murderers, like the two who killed five of the Fogel family members in 2011, “are heroes to the PA. This is not a whim. It’s in the PA’s constitution,” Dichter added, according to the Jerusalem Post.
According to Israel’s Defense Ministry, the PA in 2017 paid NIS 687 million to the so-called “martyrs’ families fund” and NIS 550 million to the Palestinian Prisoners’ Club – some seven percent of its overall budget.
Palestinian prisoners serving 20-30 year sentences for carrying out terror attacks are eligible for a lifetime NIS 10,000 monthly stipend, the Defense Ministry said, citing PA figures.
Those who receive a three-to-five-year sentence get a monthly wage of NIS 2,000. Palestinian prisoners who are married, have children, live in Jerusalem, or hold Israeli citizenship receive additional payments.
During the debate which preceded the vote, Stern said that “in the current situation, there is an incentive to engage in terror activities, and this postpones peace. Palestinians themselves have testified during interrogations that they continued to engage in terror in order to be imprisoned and receive more money. This law is meant not only to promote the safety of the citizens and residents of the State of Israel, but also to promote peace.”
The Knesset bill is similar to the Taylor Force Act, which is on its way to becoming law in the US after a nearly-two-year effort. The Act was inspired by the murder of Taylor Force, a West Point Graduate and United States Army veteran, in Tel Aviv in March of 2016.