New Rules Would Keep PA Debtors Out of Israel

YERUSHALAYIM -
A young Palestinian boy passes a checkpoint in the old city of Chevron. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

Palestinian Authority residents who owe debts to Israelis will no longer be given entry or work permits to Israeli cities, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman and Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked have proposed. The two plan to bring the change in the law on debt repayment to the Ministerial Law Committee for a vote next week.

According to Yisrael Hayom, PA residents owe Israelis at least NIS 500 million in judgments over unpaid debts, such as insurance settlements for traffic accidents – and that is just the amount in outstanding judgments that have been adjudicated in courts.

According to the report, the actual sum owed to Israelis is closer to NIS 2.5 billion – but Israelis who are owed the money usually do not bother to file for collection judgments, as there is no practical way to enforce them.

The new rules proposed by Liberman and Shaked would provide a way to force collection from PA Arabs. Under the proposal, PA Arabs who are served with collection judgments would have 30 days to satisfy them – otherwise, their standing as workers in Israel, or permits to enter for education, medical care, etc., would be canceled. The rules would apply to all Arabs in Judea and Samaria, including residents of Area C, under Israeli civil and military control.

Shaked said that PA Arabs “owe huge sums to Israelis, as much as half a billion shekels – and that is just in debts the courts know about. We must implement a new, effective method to deal with this issue. The days in which we can turn a blind eye to this are gone. I hope that the change in the law we are proposing will impel Palestinians to pay their debts, and that the discrimination in debt collection against Israelis ends.”