PA Raises Terrorist Payments

YERUSHALAYIM -
Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee chairman Avi Dichter (Likud). (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

The Palestinian Authority has raised its payments to terrorists and their families by over $50 million, according to figures presented by a committee in the Knesset, The Jerusalem Post reported on Tuesday.

The issue was raised at a session of the Knesset Foreign Affairs, and Defense Committee convened to discuss a bill that would require the Israeli government to deduct the amount the PA paid to terrorists and their families from the taxes and tariffs Israel collects for the PA each year.

Committee chairman Avi Dichter (Likud) charged that in 2018 the amount paid out was almost $56 million more than the $347 million in 2017.

The increase “means that they will hire more terrorists as PA workers,” Dichter said. “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 ones who killed the Fogel family,” Hy”d — two Palestinians killed five out of eight members of the family in Itamar, including a three-month-old, in 2011 — “are heroes to the PA. This is not a whim. It’s in the PA’s constitution,” Dichter added.

The bill, proposed by Dichter and Yesh Atid MK Elazar Stern, passed a first reading late Monday by a vote of 52-10.

“In the current situation, there is an incentive for terrorism, which only pushes away peace,” Stern said. “This bill is not only meant to promote the security of citizens and residents of the State of Israel, but to promote peace.

“Palestinians have said when they were interrogated that they continued terrorism in order to go to jail and get more money,” Stern added.

Objections were voiced by Arab and leftist MKs. Joint List MK Youssef Jabareen said the bill is “colonialist legislation at its best… The bill is collective punishment for the Palestinian population… This is how the occupation is perpetuated.”

According to Jabareen, the payments to terrorists and their families are similar to National Insurance payments: “Their goal is to help the families so they don’t starve.”

MK Aida Touma-Sliman, also of the Joint List, called the bill theft.

MK Mossi Raz of Meretz argued that the bill would be a violation of the Oslo Accords, in which Israel agreed to collect the tax money for the PA.