New Law to Deduct Tax Payments from PA Terror-Funding Allocation Finally Introduced

YERUSHALAYIM -
Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

The Defense Ministry on Tuesday introduced the outlines of a much-anticipated law that would deduct tax payments that Israel transfers to the Palestinian Authority from the amount the PA lays out to pay terrorists in Israeli prisons, and to support their families in PA-controlled areas.

“The PA pays out over a billion shekels a year to support terrorists,” Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman wrote in comments accompanying the outline. “This is how it encourages more terrorism. This law puts a stop to that.”

A PA terrorist serving a sentence of between three and five years in an Israeli prison gets NIS 2,000 a month in “salary,” while the payments for terrorists serving 25 to 30 years can be as high as NIS 10,000 a month. For longer-term prisoners, the payments can continue until the end of their lives. Married terrorists get a “bonus” of NIS 300 a month, plus “child payments” of NIS 50 per month per child. Terrorists who are Yerushalayim residents get an extra NIS 300 a month in bonus payments, and if the terrorist is an Israeli citizen, he gets NIS 500 over his regular pay.

According to the Defense Ministry, the average working person in PA-controlled areas earns NIS 2,000 a month.

Obviously, terrorism is a “growth industry” in the PA, as well as one of its better-paying careers. According to the Ministry, the PA in 2017 dedicated 7 percent of its total budget to payments directly to terrorists – a sum amounting to NIS 550 million. In addition, it paid NIS 687 million in “pension” payments to terrorists released from prison, and to families of suicide terrorists and terrorists who were injured carrying out their attack.

Under the new law, the Ministry will use the statistics that it gathers on PA terror-funding, and transfer the numbers to the Economy Ministry – which collects taxes and duties on behalf of the PA on shipments to Ashdod Port, money which is then forwarded to the PA.

If the law is enacted, that money will still be transferred – minus the amount spent on terror-funding by the PA.

“The ‘sliding scale’ of payments to terrorists by the PA – with ‘heavier’ prisoners getting more money – clearly shows that the PA’s intention is to fund terrorism,” said Liberman. “We have a responsibility to put an end to this.”