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PMW Bulletins
PA will cut all Palestinian salaries, except for terrorists and their families
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PA to cut salaries of all Palestinian workers
but won’t cut salaries
of imprisoned terrorists and murderers
who will be paid in full
  • Impending PA financial crisis follows Abbas decision to not accept Israeli transfers of approx. 670 million shekels/month after Israel decided to deduct 41 million shekels/month from PA tax money equivalent to the amount PA pays terrorist prisoners
     
  • “PA Minister of Finance announced that the [PA] government will pay the salaries of the public employees on time, but they are likely to be partial, other than the pension stipends and the allowances of the families of the Martyrs, the wounded, and the prisoners, which will be paid in full.”
     
  • PA TV: “Our Martyrs and prisoners (i.e., terrorists and murderers) are the source of our glory and pride. They are more honorable than all of us.”
     
  • PA Prime Minister: “The payment of the money to the prisoners and Martyrs' families is our responsibility, not a gift or grant but rather an inseparable part of the social contract between the state and its citizens.”
     
  • PA Minister of Finance: “There is an official decision... not to accept the tax money if even a single penny is missing from it."
     
  • PLO Director of Prisoners’ Affairs threatens violence: “The blatant theft ... will be tantamount to an actual bomb that will blow up in the face of the occupation.”
by Nan Jacques Zilberdik and Itamar Marcus 

The Palestinian Authority has now made it official and notified Israel that it will refuse to accept transfer of any tax money that Israel has collected for the PA, because Israel is deducting the amount the PA pays in salaries to terrorists and released terrorists:

PA Minister of Foreign Affairs Riyad Al-Malki:
"We will not agree to accept any partial amount of the tax money... This message has been conveyed to the Israeli side."
[Official PA TV, News, Feb. 21, 2019]

The PA has once again demonstrated that it prioritizes terror support over support for its non-terrorist citizens. The PA announced that following its refusal to accept any tax money from Israel, the PA’s public employees - the productive workers - will receive cuts in their salary. However not everyone will have to take a pay cut. The unproductive terrorists who are sitting in jail will receive their full monthly salaries:

“PA Minister of Finance Shukri Bishara announced that the [PA] government will pay the salaries of the public employees on time, but they are likely to be partial, other than the pension stipends and the allowances (mukhassasat) of the families of the Martyrs, the wounded, and the prisoners, which will be paid in full.”
[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Feb. 22, 2019]

The Minister of Finance further announced that both public employees and the private sector - “those whose salaries are higher” - will have to “make sacrifices”:
 

 

PA Minister of Finance Shukri Bishara: “Our leadership’s decision is that if [Israel] deducts [even] a penny we will not accept the tax money...
[The public employees receiving] 2,000 [shekels] are secure 100%. [Those receiving] an additional 1,000 [will be paid] at a rate of 60%-70%... Those who will sacrifice in this equation are those whose salaries are higher. We want to preserve the lower salaries. We will have a single standard for the whole society. The private sector - at the least we will not stop its solvency. The pensioners - we will protect their pensions 100%. The prisoners and released prisoners - 100%. Those are the instructions of the President and the leadership - and we will not disappoint them on this matter.  We do not want to delude you, we [stand] before difficulties.”
[Official PA TV, Feb. 21, 2019]

Actually, pay cuts for the private sector to fund the PA’s “Pay for Slay” program rewarding terrorists have been institutionalized by PA law in the past. Law No. 14 for Support for Prisoners in the Israeli Prisons from 2004 stipulated that the value of one work day was deducted from public employees annually. This money went into an account to benefit prisoners from the “Al-Aqsa Intifada” (PA’s terror campaign, 2000-2005.) The law further stated that “the [PA] government is entitled to request from the non-governmental private sector that the salary of one work day be deducted from all employees of those institutions for the benefit of the [prisoner] account.” In the current self-inflicted crisis, the PA might possibly return to using such measures.

Official PA TV explained the reasoning to prioritize the terrorists and the PA’s unwavering support for them:


Official PA TV newsreader: "Our Martyrs and prisoners are the source of our glory and pride. They are more honorable than all of us... This was said by... President Mahmoud Abbas: 'If we have only one penny left, we will give it to the families of the Martyrs and the prisoners.’”
[Official PA TV, News, Feb. 18, 2019]

Palestinian media has reported numerous reactions from PA officials to Israel's announcing the deduction of tax money. Palestinian Media Watch reported last week, that the PA is prioritizing terrorist murderers before the rest of the Palestinian population

Mahmoud Abbas himself emphasized the price the Palestinian population will be paying, but blamed Israel - even though he is the one creating the crisis by refusing to accept the 670 million shekels that Israel is transferring. The terrorists on the other hand, will not pay any price:

“At this time Israel is stifling the fundamentals of Palestinian economy using means that violate the agreements signed between us. The latest of these measures was the Israeli decision to deduct from the Palestinian clearance funds, an act that is considered a piracy of the Palestinian people's money. We categorically refuse the Israeli measure and we also refused to receive the remaining funds after the deduction. This will have catastrophic consequences on the life of the Palestinian people.”
[WAFA, official PA news agency, Feb. 25, 2019]

PA Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah also stressed the impending financial crisis: 

“The taking of the tax money places the Palestinian economy in a circle of danger, and threatens our ability to keep up with the payment of the [public] employees' salaries on time, and this will stop the wheels of the economy.
However, we again emphasize that we will not exchange our rights and firm positions for money, and we are prepared for all scenarios if the Israeli government carries out its threats.”
[Facebook page of PA Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah, Feb. 17, 2019]

Fatah Revolutionary Council member and regular columnist for the official PA daily Muwaffaq Matar compared Israel's deducting money the PA pays terrorists to the American “elimination of the Indians":

“The [Israeli] Cabinet’s decision, on the other hand, is a reflection of a modus operandi of expulsion, settlement, and colonialist occupation, which the white settler invaders implemented on the American continent when they eliminated the original residents, the Indians, by murderous means...”
[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Feb. 19, 2019]

PA leaders have emphasized the refusal to accept any tax money if Israel deducts from the total sum, and they have stressed that the PA will continue to pay rewards to terrorists at all costs:

PA Minister of Finance Shukri Bishara:
“There is an official decision that was made yesterday, Wednesday, not to accept the tax money if even a single penny is missing from it.”
[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Feb. 22, 2019]

PA Minister of Foreign Affairs Riyad Al-Malki: 


"It was agreed yesterday in a meeting with His Honor the President [Abbas] to send an official message to the Israeli side, according to which we will not agree to accept any partial amount of the tax money that is to be officially transferred to the Palestinian side. This message has been conveyed to the Israeli side in a clear manner."
[Official PA TV, News, Feb. 21, 2019]

PLO Executive Committee Secretary and Chief Negotiator Saeb Erekat emphasized to European officials “the Palestinian leadership’s decision not to receive the tax money if the deduction is carried out.” [Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Feb. 22, 2019]

PA Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah:
“I again emphasize the words of His Honor [PA] President Mahmoud Abbas that the payment of the money to the prisoners and Martyrs' families is our responsibility, not a gift or grant but rather an inseparable part of the social contract between the state and its citizens, and it is part of the social solidarity and protection... We will certainly be with the prisoners and with their families and behind them in their just battle, until the release of all of them, without any conditions or restrictions. This is our position and we will not retreat from it.”
[Facebook page of PA Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah, Feb. 17, 2019]

Director of PLO Commission of Prisoners' Affairs Qadri Abu Bakr:
“The salaries (rawatib) of the relatives of the Martyrs and prisoners remain firm and will not be harmed, and that is what the Palestinian leadership has emphasized and is emphasizing.' He added: 'President Abbas’ position in this matter is firm and clear that the allowances of the prisoners and the Martyrs' families will not be harmed.”
[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Feb. 19, 2019]

 The official PA daily:
“President Mahmoud Abbas' decision not to accept any partial amount of the tax money and his determination to continue to pay the allowances of the prisoners and the Martyrs' families.”
[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Feb. 22, 2019]

The PA’s responses to Israel's decision included threats of violence. The PA government vowed to continue the “struggle against the occupation with all means” - a PA euphemism for violence:

"The Israeli government must understand that our people... will continue its incessant struggle and resistance generation after generation against the occupation, its policy, and its racist laws by all means that the international conventions guarantee to an occupied people.”
[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Feb. 20, 2019]

The director of the PLO Commission of Prisoners' Affairs, Qadri Abu Bakr, said that if Israel deducts the money, it will be like a bomb exploding in their faces:

”Abu Bakr said that the Israeli crime - the blatant theft of the money of the State of Palestine under the pretext of deducting the salaries that are paid to the families of the Martyrs (Shahids) and prisoners - will be tantamount to an actual bomb that will blow up in the face of the occupation.”
[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Feb. 20, 2019]

He further said “that silence over this crime of theft by broad daylight will open wide the gates of confrontation with the occupation,” and that “the occupation and its leaders will pay a heavy price."

In his statement, PLO official Abu Bakr also reiterated the decision by the Palestinian leadership to continue to pay salaries to terrorists:

Abu Bakr explained that the Palestinian leadership, led by [PA] President Mahmoud Abbas, emphasizes that the salaries of the families of the Martyrs and the prisoners must not be harmed, and that the last penny in the PA Ministry of Finance will be given with priority to this fighting group.”
[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Feb. 20, 2019]

Another show of support for the terrorist prisoners came from Fatah’s student movement Shabiba. Its branch at Bethlehem University offered to donate its entire budget to pay prisoners, “Martyrs,” and wounded:

“The [Fatah] Shabiba Student Movement at Bethlehem University announced its willingness to donate the budget of the Student Union at the university and all of their allowances to the families of the Martyrs (Shahids), the prisoners, and the wounded. This was after the occupation government’s decision to steal the money allocated to the Martyrs, prisoners, and wounded from the Palestinian tax money.”
[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Feb. 23, 2019]

Israel's decision to deduct the amount the PA pays in terrorist salaries has been described by PA officials as part of Israel’s and the US’ plan to “destroy” and “eliminate” the PA and harm the prisoners.

PLO Executive Committee Secretary and Chief Negotiator Saeb Erekat:
“The deduction of the salaries of the prisoners and Martyrs’ families from the tax money, which Israel intends to carry out, is part of the Israeli-American plan to destroy the PA.”
[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Feb. 18, 2019]

PA Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah:
“The Israeli deduction from the Palestinian tax money, which is our people’s revenues and resources and the property of the public coffers according to the signed agreements, is made in the context of collective punishments that Israel implements, and an open war that it is waging against the Palestinian people and its leadership, in order to strangle and extort as part of a plan to destroy the [Palestinian] National Authority and to deprive it of the ability to continue to provide services and fulfill its obligations towards its citizens.”
[Facebook page of PA Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah, Feb. 17, 2019]

The PA government claimed Israel is implementing a plan to “eliminate the PA”:

"The [PA] government emphasized that the decision by the Israeli so-called 'Cabinet' to deduct approximately half a billion shekels from the tax money... is just [another] decision in the series of decisions by the Israeli government... whose goal is to revoke all of the signed agreements, as part of a plan to eliminate the PA.”
[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Feb. 20, 2019]

Similarly, the legislative body of the PLO, the Palestinian National Council, saw Israel's deduction of tax money as an expression of its alleged goal to “harm” Palestinian prisoners:

“This decision is part of the series of steps whose goal is to harm the sanctity of the struggle of the prisoners, Martyrs, and wounded, and to pressure the Palestinian leadership to stop paying them these allowances. It added that this is political and financial terror that the occupation government is implementing so that [the Palestinians] will agree to the so-called 'deal of the century'.”
[Ma’an, independent Palestinian news agency, Feb. 17, 2019]

The District Governor of Jericho explained Israel's step as an attempt to hurt the Palestinian national struggle as embodied by the prisoners - i.e., terrorists and murderers:

“Jericho District Governor Jihad Abu Al-Asal said that the occupation’s decision is part of the series of steps whose goal is to harm the sanctity of the struggle of the prisoners, Martyrs, and wounded.”
[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Feb. 21, 2019]

One way the PA plans to react to Israel's decision is to boycott a number of Israeli products. Fatah Movement Deputy Chairman Mahmoud Al-Aloul announced that a committee has been established “to prepare a list of Israeli products that have a local alternative, in order to prevent the entry of these Israeli products into the Palestinian market.” [Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Feb. 22, 2019]

Another way, also described by Al-Aloul as well as other officials, is to turn to international courts and have Israel put on trial for “theft”:

“[Al-Aloul] also emphasized that the committee has decided to turn to the international courts in order to put Israel on trial for the theft of the tax money, in addition to implementing steps regarding reexamining all of the types of relations with Israel on all levels."
[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Feb. 22, 2019]

The following are longer excerpts of the reports quoted above and additional responses from PA officials to Israel's implementation of the deduction law:

Headline: “Bishara: The salaries will be paid on time, but possibly not in full”
“[PA] Minister of Finance Shukri Bishara announced that the [PA] government will pay the salaries of the public employees on time, but they are likely to be partial, other than the pension stipends and the allowances (mukhassasat) of the families of the Martyrs (Shahids), the wounded, and the prisoners, which will be paid in full.
Bishara said this yesterday [Feb. 21, 2019] at a joint press conference with [PA] Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates Riyad Al-Malki, following a meeting with consuls and representatives of European Union states in order to explain the consequences of the Israeli decision to deduct the government’s payments to the families of the prisoners, Martyrs, and wounded from the tax money (refers to implementation of law to deduct terrorist salaries from PA tax money; see note below -Ed.), and he added: ‘There is an official decision that was made yesterday, Wednesday [Feb. 20, 2019], not to accept the tax money if even a single penny is missing from it.’ ...
He continued: ‘There are agreements and contracts, including plans to ease the suffering of these prisoners, families of the Martyrs, and wounded and to integrate them into society. This is known to the Israelis and others for more than 20 years, and the Israelis have not raised this in any meeting that was held between us, and we have explained this in detail to the representatives of the European Union, as well as what happened that Israel suddenly decided to deduct their allowances from the tax money.’ ...
Al-Malki said that the Palestinian leadership intends to turn to the relevant international courts in order to submit lawsuits against Israel for violating the international and bilateral laws and agreements following the cut in Palestinian tax money...
The [PA] Ministry of Foreign Affairs [and Expatriates] published an announcement in which it again emphasized its rejection of the Israeli decision to cut from the tax money... and said: ‘The decision to steal the Palestinian money constitutes a continuation of the shirking by the ruling extremist right-wing in Israel of all the agreements that were signed with the Palestinian side, and it is the last nail in the coffin of the Paris Agreement (see note below -Ed.). This colonialist decision comes at a time when the occupation state continues “to commemorate the memories” of the members of the Zionist militias who committed hundreds of massacres and crimes against our people from the start of the last century, and considers them “heroes for freedom who participated in establishing the state.” In addition, the occupation state is “perpetuating their memories” with a series of museums and emphasizing their criminal role in the schoolbooks, and also allocating huge sums to their families.’”
[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Feb. 22, 2019]

Israel's law to deduct terrorist salaries from PA tax money - Israeli law stating that the PA payments to terrorists and the families of dead terrorists is a financial incentive to terror. The law instructs the state to deduct and freeze the amount of money the PA pays in salaries to imprisoned terrorists and families of "Martyrs" from the tax money Israel collects for the PA. Should the PA stop these payments for a full year, the Israeli government would have the option of giving all or part of the frozen money to the PA.
The law was enacted by the Israeli Parliament on July 2, 2018, and its first implementation was approved by Israel's Security Cabinet on Feb. 17, 2019, when it decided to withhold 502,697,000 Israeli shekels (approximately $138 million) from the PA. In response, the PA announced it would not accept any of the tax money collected by Israel unless it also included the frozen amount.
During the initial parliamentary vote in 2018, the law's sponsor Avi Dichter said: “The Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee received much help in its deliberations... from Palestinian Media Watch who provided us with authentic data that enabled productive and professional deliberations, nuances that are very difficult to achieve without precise data.” [Israeli Parliament website, July 2, 2018]

Paris Agreement - agreement on economic relations between Israel and the PLO, signed in Paris on April 29, 1994. Its main goal is to promote peace by establishing economic relations modeled on EU economic relations.

PA Minister of Finance Shukri Bishara: “Currently they want to deduct 40 million [shekels a month] (refers to Israeli law to deduct terrorist salaries from PA tax money; see note below -Ed.). The leadership has decided- time after time they [Israel] have deducted the tax money, perhaps eight times in the last 20 years. During my period [as minister of finance], in 2014, they deducted unjustified amounts as punishment under the ‘energy’ clause (refers to deductions to cover PA electrical debts to the Israel Electric Company -Ed.). We rejected the amounts at the time, we returned them. Now our leadership’s decision is that if [Israel] deducts [even] a penny we will not accept the tax money - we will return it and take all the steps we can ...
We are entering a confrontation with a bitter enemy. We will be able to overcome it and we will be able to deal with it if we cooperate together... We are trying to deal with the salaries in as wise and fairly balanced a manner as possible. There are people whose salaries are high and are liable to be affected [by the deduction of PA tax money], and there are people on the poverty line who we are protecting. I mention 2014, when they took a step of this sort - we are talking about salaries of public employees, not of civilians; the civilians’ salaries come from the private sector, but the public employees in 2014, we managed to pay- to provide a security net for their salaries that were less than 2,000 [shekels a month], and they constitute a large number of the PA clerks, 40%. Forty percent of the public employees received their full salaries. First of all, we ensured 2,000 [shekels a month] in 2014. Aside from that, you need to take into account that those whose salaries are 3,000 [shekels] are the majority, in other words, the greatest proportion of the public employees. First of all, [the public employees receiving] 2,000 [shekels] are secure 100%. [Those receiving] an additional 1,000 [will be paid] at a rate of 60%-70%. The anticipated average provides us with approximately 80% of the salaries. We are trying to preserve this just balance for as long as possible.
Naturally there will be some sacrifices. Those who will sacrifice in this equation are those whose salaries are higher. We want to preserve the lower salaries. We will have a single standard for the whole society. The private sector - at the least we will not stop its solvency. The pensioners - we will protect their pensions 100%. The prisoners and released prisoners - 100%. Those are the instructions of the President and the leadership - and we will not disappoint them on this matter. 
We do not want to delude you, we [stand] before difficulties. And the measure of harmony, and the measure of our withstanding this wave, will be the measure of our overcoming this difficulty. We need to teach them a lesson - the Palestinian people does not submit because of 40 million shekels.”
[Official PA TV, Feb. 21, 2019]

Headline: "Al-Aloul: A series of steps will be implemented in order to deal with the occupation's decision to steal the tax money"
"Fatah Movement Deputy Chairman [and Fatah Central Committee member] Mahmoud Al-Aloul announced that the committee appointed to execute the [PLO] Central Council's decisions has decided to carry out some steps in order to deal with Israel's decision to steal the Palestinian money (referring to the implementation of a law to deduct terror salaries from PA tax money; see note below -Ed.), including boycotting Israeli goods.
Al-Aloul said in statements to [the official PA] radio [station] The Voice of Palestine: 'A committee has been established to prepare a list of Israeli products that have a local alternative, in order to prevent the entry of these Israeli products into the Palestinian market.'
...
He also emphasized that the committee has decided to turn to the international courts in order to put Israel on trial for the theft of the tax money, in addition to implementing steps regarding reexamining all of the types of relations with Israel on all levels."
[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Feb. 22, 2019]

Headline: "The Israeli theft - a stage in the Israeli sadism"
"The Palestinian response to the occupation's decision to deduct the allowances (mukhassasat) of the prisoners and the Martyrs' (Shahids') families from the tax money (refers to Israeli law to deduct terror salaries from PA tax money; see note below -Ed.) - which is expressed by [PA] President Mahmoud Abbas' decision not to accept any partial amount of the tax money and his determination to continue to pay the allowances of the prisoners and the Martyrs' families - was popularly anticipated...
Activists on social media criticized the attempts by some bodies to draw attention from the Palestinian leadership’s firm position regarding the prisoners and the Martyrs' families and turn the conversation in the direction of concern for the fate of the public employees' salaries. Many of the activists thought that those spreading this news are serving the occupation’s goals that strive to increase the pressure on the Palestinian leadership and people."
[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Feb. 22, 2019]

Headline: “Jericho: Protest vigil against Israel’s theft of the prisoners and Martyrs’ allowances”
“Respected figures from the Jericho district participated in a protest vigil against the occupation’s theft of the prisoners and Martyrs’ (Shahids’) allowances from the Palestinian tax money (refers to implementation of Israeli law to deduct terrorist salaries from PA tax money; see note below -Ed.)...
Jericho District Governor Jihad Abu Al-Asal said that the occupation’s decision is part of the series of steps whose goal is to harm the sanctity of the struggle of the prisoners, Martyrs, and wounded.”
[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Feb. 21, 2019]

Headline: “Erekat: Israel and the US are planning to destroy the PA”
“PLO Executive Committee Secretary Saeb Erekat said yesterday [Feb. 17, 2019]: ‘The deduction of the salaries of the prisoners and Martyrs’ (Shahids’) families from the tax money (refers to Israeli law deducting terrorist salaries from PA tax money; see note below -Ed.), which Israel intends to carry out, is part of the Israeli-American plan to destroy the PA, in parallel with disconnecting the Gaza Strip from the West Bank. This plan is the “deal of the century” (refers to US President Donald Trump’s as yet unpublished Middle East peace plan -Ed.).’
In statements that he gave to [the official PA] radio [station] The Voice of Palestine, he added that Israel will carry out this step after it has denied all of the signed agreements...
Erekat emphasized that the US took $844 million of the [Palestinian] people’s money (sic., American money; refers to PA request to stop US aid in order to evade the Anti-Terrorist Clarification Act of 2018; see note below), and convened the Arabs in Warsaw (sic., many non-Arab states also attended the Warsaw Conference; see note below) to say that it wants peace under the headline: ‘Dealing with the Iranian threat.’ He emphasized that the occupation is the source of extremism and violence in the region...
Erekat turned to the Arabs and said: ‘Those who are going to Warsaw - what are they going for? You spoke about the Arab Peace Initiative. What has changed that you are rewarding [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu?’
He emphasized that those carrying out normalization with Israel are sticking a knife in the back of the [Palestinian] people.”
[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Feb. 18, 2019]

Saeb Erekat also holds the following positions: Fatah Central Committee member and PLO Chief Negotiator.

Anti-Terrorism Clarification Act of 2018 - Among other things, this law gives US courts the jurisdiction to seize assets from any body that receives foreign aid from the US government, viewing their acceptance of US foreign aid as consent to US jurisdiction. This enables past and present victims of terror to successfully pursue lawsuits in US courts against such bodies that were connected in any way to the acts of terror. In the past many such cases have been thrown out due to lack of US jurisdiction.

Warsaw Conference - the US sponsored a conference in Warsaw on Feb. 13-14, 2019, to discuss peace and security in the Middle East. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attended the conference. The PA was invited to attend but refused the invitation and requested that Arabs boycott the conference.

Headline: “Erekat: The American-Israeli decisions are the continued execution of what is called the deal of the century”
“PLO Executive Committee Secretary Saeb Erekat held separate meetings with eight members of the French National Assembly accompanied by French Consul General Pierre Cochard, with the head of the [Temporary] International Presence in Hebron (TIPH), and with European Union Representative in Palestine Ralph Tarraf...
Erekat emphasized the State of Palestine’s rejection of the theft of the Palestinian people’s money through the deduction and theft of 42 million [Israeli] shekels a month (refers to implementation of Israeli law to deduct terror salaries from PA tax money; see note below -Ed.), and also emphasized the Palestinian leadership’s decision not to receive the tax money if the deduction is carried out.”
[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Feb. 22, 2019]

Headline: “A protest vigil condemning the occupation’s theft of the prisoners and Martyrs’ allowances”
“Dozens of civilians took part in a protest and solidarity vigil yesterday [Feb. 21, 2019] to condemn the Israeli occupation’s theft of the prisoners and Martyrs’ (Shahids’) allowances (mukhassasat) (refers to implementation of law to deduct terrorist salaries from the PA tax money; see note below -Ed.).
During the vigil, which was organized by the [PLO] Commission of Prisoners and Released Prisoners’ Affairs in Salfit and the Fatah Movement’s Salfit branch, Salfit District Governor Ibrahim Al-Balawi said that the cause of the prisoners and Martyrs is among the priorities of the Palestinian people and leadership, and this has been a firm position throughout time until now, and we will not concede our right to our money.
He added that the occupation has decided to punish our people through the most precious thing it has - the sons of the Martyrs and the prisoners who are behind bars. However, [PA] President [Mahmoud Abbas] has adhered to his firm and latest position which he will not concede, and to his emphasis that we will not accept the tax money if even one penny is missing from it.’
Fatah Movement Secretary [in Salfit] Abd Al-Sattar Awwad said that the cause of the prisoners and Martyrs is one of the basic Palestinian principles, and since the PLO was established open programs began to honor the prisoners and Martyrs, out of the loyalty and obligation of the leadership and people to those who have sacrificed their souls and blood to establish an independent Palestinian state.”
[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Feb. 22, 2019]

"Director of the [PLO] Commission of Prisoners' Affairs Qadri Abu Bakr said that the Israeli crime - the blatant theft of the money of the State of Palestine under the pretext of deducting the salaries that are paid to the families of the Martyrs (Shahids) and prisoners (referring to implementation of Israeli law to deduct terror salaries from the PA tax money; see note below -Ed.) - will be tantamount to an actual bomb that will blow up in the face of the occupation.
This was said during his meeting with a Fatah Movement delegation...
Abu Bakr explained that the Palestinian leadership, led by [PA] President Mahmoud Abbas, emphasizes that the salaries of the families of the Martyrs and the prisoners must not be harmed, and that the last penny in the PA Ministry of Finance will be given with priority to this fighting group...
Abu Bakr noted that this theft contradicts all of the international norms and conventions, and that silence over this crime of theft by broad daylight will open wide the gates of confrontation with the occupation. He added that the Palestinian people, its leadership, and its institutions will fight this racist extremism, and that the occupation and its leaders will pay a heavy price."
[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Feb. 20, 2019]

Headline: "The [PA] government: We will not exchange our rights for money, and we will always stand by the prisoners and their families"
"The [PA] government emphasized that the Israeli government must understand that our people... will continue its incessant struggle and resistance generation after generation against the occupation, its policy, and its racist laws by all means that the international conventions guarantee to an occupied people...
During its weekly meeting, which was held yesterday [Feb. 19, 2019] in Ramallah led by [PA] Prime Minister [Rami Hamdallah], it emphasized that the decision by the Israeli so-called 'Cabinet' to deduct approximately half a billion shekels from the tax money (refers to implementation of an Israeli law to deduct terror salaries from the PA tax money; see note below -Ed.)... is just [another] decision in the series of decisions by the Israeli government... whose goal is to revoke all of the signed agreements, as part of a plan to eliminate the PA...
The prime minister emphasized that we will not exchange our rights and our firm positions for money."
[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Feb. 20, 2019]

Note: PA leaders and officials have legitimized Palestinian violence by quoting UN resolution 3236 which "recognizes the right of the Palestinian people to regain its rights by all means." The PA interprets "all means" as including violence against civilians, but has chosen to ignore the continuation of the resolution which states that the use of "all means" should be "in accordance with the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations..." The UN Charter prohibits targeting civilians, even in war. Chapter 1, Article 1, opens by saying that "international disputes" should be resolved "by peaceful means."

Headline: "The prisoners and Martyrs’ relatives: We are certain of the firmness of the [PA] president's position in defense of our cause"
"Released prisoners, Martyrs' (Shahids') families, and prisoners' relatives emphasized their absolute faith in [PA] President Mahmoud Abbas' in defense of their causes and rights, in response to the occupation government's decision to steal their allowances (mukhassasat) from the Palestinian tax money (refers to implementation of the Israeli law to deduct terror salaries from PA tax money; see note below -Ed.).
They expressed appreciation in separate conversations with [the official PA news agency] WAFA for President Abbas’ firm positions in the face of the Israeli and American pressures, which reject all of the attempts at political extortion, and his emphasis that their allowances will not be harmed and will not stop regardless of the extent of these pressures...
Director of [PLO] Commission of Prisoners and Released Prisoners' Affairs Qadri Abu Bakr said to WAFA that 'The salaries (rawatib) of the relatives of the Martyrs and prisoners remain firm and will not be harmed, and that is what the Palestinian leadership has emphasized and is emphasizing.' He added: 'President Abbas’ position in this matter is firm and clear that the allowances of the prisoners and the Martyrs' families will not be harmed.'
He added: 'They want to criminalize the Palestinian people’s struggle before the world, to present them as terrorists, and to prevent relatives from [receiving] salaries that will support them, while the Israeli criminals are receiving three salaries (sic., Israeli criminals receive no money from the Israeli government; see note below)."
[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Feb. 19, 2019]

Headline: "The Gazan prisoners' families: The leadership will not submit to the Israeli theft"
"During the weekly sit-in strike by the prisoners' relatives at the Gaza headquarters of the International Committee of the Red Cross, yesterday [Feb. 18, 2019] the prisoners' families again emphasized their faith in [PA] President Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian leadership regarding the aid being given to the prisoners' cause and the emphasis that they will not submit to the Israeli theft after the deduction of the prisoners and Martyrs' (Shahids') allowances (mukhassasat) (refers to implementation of Israeli law to deduct terror salaries from the PA tax money; see note below -Ed.), and demanded to turn to the [International] Criminal Court and punish Israel for its racist decisions...
Released prisoner and Director of the Fatah Movement Commission of the Prisoners, Martyrs, [and Wounded in Gaza] Tayseer Al-Bardini said that the Palestinian leadership led by President Mahmoud Abbas will not submit to the Israeli theft, particularly since the president always emphasizes that the prisoners and Martyrs' salaries (rawatib) are a red line, and they will be paid in a regular manner. This requires additional popular and political activity in order to support the prisoners' rights and stand against the racist policies that Israel is implementing against the prisoners and the people."
[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Feb. 19, 2019]

Headline: “The [Palestinian] National Council: The deduction of the PA money is political and financial terror against our people"
“This evening [Feb. 17, 2019] the [Palestinian] National Council (i.e., the legislative body of the PLO) condemned the Israeli Cabinet’s decision to actually begin the deduction and theft of an amount equal to the allowances of the prisoners and their families and the allowances of the families of the Palestinian Martyrs (Shahids) and wounded from the tax money that Israel collects for the State of Palestine (referring to the Israeli law to deduct terror salaries from the PA tax money; see note below -Ed.).
The Palestinian National Council said today in a statement that this decision is part of the series of steps whose goal is to harm the sanctity of the struggle of the prisoners, Martyrs, and wounded, and to pressure the Palestinian leadership to stop paying them these allowances. It added that this is political and financial terror that the occupation government is implementing so that [the Palestinians] will agree to the so-called 'deal of the century' (i.e., referring to US President Donald Trump's as yet unpublished Middle East peace plan)...
The council emphasized that our people and its national institutions will fight this aggressive decision with all their strength. It also emphasized that the Palestinian prisoners are prisoners of war who struggled in order to break free of the occupation and to live with dignity in their homeland. It also emphasized that the Palestinian institutions will continue to fully take care of the prisoners and the families of the Martyrs and wounded...
The Palestinian National Council noted that while Israel is exaggerating in its hostility towards our people - and particularly the Martyrs, prisoners, wounded, and their families - it is giving material and political aid to the murderers among the Israeli soldiers and the terrorist settlers, and giving money to the Israeli prisoners and their families (sic., Israel gives no money to Israeli prisoners, and no money to family members but social security that is completely unrelated to imprisonment), and monthly allowances and compensation to Israeli civilians that were killed or wounded in hostile operations against our people (apparently referring to Israelis engaged in defending Israel -Ed.)."
[Ma’an, independent Palestinian news agency, Feb. 17, 2019]

“PLO Executive Committee member and Fatah Movement Central Committee member Azzam Al-Ahmad received Russian Ambassador to the State of Palestine Aydar Aganin at his office in Ramallah yesterday [Feb. 23, 2019].
Al-Ahmad gave the Russian ambassador a written letter from [PA] President Mahmoud Abbas for [Russian] President Vladimir Putin. The letter deals with the recent developments and the cutting of part of the tax money by [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu’s government (refers to implementation of law to deduct terrorist salaries from the PA tax money; see note below -Ed.) in a way that contradicts the economic Paris Agreement (see note below -Ed.) that was signed between the two sides - a step that contradicts international laws and that is meant to blackmail the Palestinian leadership and exert pressure on it, in order to prevent it from fulfilling its obligations to the families of the prisoners and Martyrs (Shahids), who struggled for the freedom of their people and the end of the occupation, and who are worthy of all aid - regardless of the difficulties and pressures.”
[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Feb. 24, 2019]

Azzam Al-Ahmad also holds the following positions: Head of the PLO Department of Arab and Parliamentary Affairs, Fatah Commissioner of National Relations, and Fatah Commissioner for Relations with Lebanon.

Excerpt of an op-ed by Muwaffaq Matar, Fatah Revolutionary Council member and regular columnist for the official PA daily

Headline: “The way of the Zionist state”
“We see no connection between the elections in Israel and the decision of the occupation state’s cabinet about freezing the transfer of 500 million shekels to the [Palestinian] Authority government from the Palestinian tax money (refers to the implementation of the law to deduct terror salaries from the PA tax money; see note below -Ed.). This is because the Israeli racist settlement imperialist occupation project has a practical policy whose only goal is to diminish the idea of the national liberation and independence of the Palestinians, in order to subjugate them and turn them into just working hands...
The occupation government’s decision to implement the law to deduct and freeze money that the Palestinian government pays to the families of the Martyrs (Shahids) and the prisoners... is not only a reflection of the principle of theft and robbery as the Israeli regime’s modus operandi since the establishment of the first armed Jewish terrorist organization, but also a natural reflection of the modus operandi of the imperialist state that sponsors Israel (i.e., the US). Therefore it is obvious that the Israeli Parliament would legislate a law to steal Palestinian public money - and this is while [US] President of the American administration [Donald] Trump is taking a step of ‘stealing the American people’s money,’ according to the American House of Representatives’ description of the state of emergency [order] that Trump signed despite the opposition of the American people’s representatives...
The [Israeli] Cabinet’s decision, on the other hand, is a reflection of a modus operandi of expulsion, settlement, and colonialist occupation, which the white settler invaders implemented on the American continent when they eliminated the original residents, the Indians, by murderous means.
In this context, we think that the grandchildren of the first invaders of Palestine are now full of regret that those who preceded them in invading approximately 90 years ago until the declaration of the establishment of Israel in 1948 allowed a million Palestinians to emigrate, and did not kill them on the spot. However, they are aspiring, together with the Trump administration, to eliminate the cause of the Palestinian refugees, in preparation for erasing half of the Palestinian people - 5,256,321 [refugees], alongside the plot to erase the PLO... The goal here is to make the Palestinian people without identity and without a homeland, without land and an address, and this in itself is the greatest crime of theft in history, exceeding the crime of eliminating the Indians... and the Palestinian who is prevented from returning to his home and land... is killed a thousand times today, at a time when there are human rights laws in the world. And herein lies the danger not only to the Palestinian people, but to all peoples that love peace, who are also liable to be victims if the world allows Trump and [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu’s policy - which is colonialist, racist, and violates human rights - to pass! For the states that use religion to legitimize and justify their crimes against humanity will not stop bringing [more] types of wildness and implementing them, even if the price is global peace and security - and the living example of this is the Zionist State of Israel.”
[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Feb. 19, 2019]

Text posted on the Facebook page of PA Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah

Posted text: "The law on deducting the allowances of the prisoners and wounded from the tax money, which the Israeli Parliament ratified last June [2018], and which the Israeli [Security] Cabinet ratified a short time ago (refers to implementation of Israeli law to deduct terrorist salaries from PA tax money; see note below -Ed.), is nothing but a continuation of the racist Israeli legislation... and the collapse of the two-state solution and every opportunity to establish an independent and sovereign Palestinian state on the 1967 borders with Jerusalem as its capital.
This is a violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention (see note below -Ed.) and of the international conventions, and a violation of the interim agreement [of the Oslo Accords] that was signed in September 1995 by Israel and the PLO (see note below -Ed.). Therefore, putting hands on this money and holding onto it is considered a theft of the general Palestinian money, and a crime of an international nature.
The Israeli deduction from the Palestinian tax money, which is our people’s revenues and resources and the property of the public coffers according to the signed agreements, is made in the context of collective punishments that Israel implements, and an open war that it is waging against the Palestinian people and its leadership, in order to strangle and extort as part of a plan to destroy the [Palestinian] National Authority and to deprive it of the ability to continue to provide services and fulfill its obligations towards its citizens.
The taking of the tax money places the Palestinian economy in a circle of danger, and threatens our ability to keep up with the payment of the [public] employees' salaries on time, and this will stop the wheels of the economy.
However, we again emphasize that we will not exchange our rights and firm positions for money, and we are prepared for all scenarios if the Israeli government carries out its threats.
I again emphasize the words of His Honor [PA] President Mahmoud Abbas that the payment of the money to the prisoners and Martyrs' families is our responsibility, not a gift or grant but rather an inseparable part of the social contract between the state and its citizens, and it is part of the social solidarity and protection...
We will certainly be with the prisoners and with their families and behind them in their just battle, until the release of all of them, without any conditions or restrictions. This is our position and we will not retreat from it.
International society must act seriously in light of these threats, and force Israel to stop using our money as a means of punishment. We also call to renew and activate the Arab financial security net, in order to enable our people and its leadership to come out against these punitive steps, and in order to prevent more suffering and oppression for our people."
[Facebook page of PA Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah, Feb. 17, 2019]

PA claim that Israeli law to deduct PA tax revenues breaches the Fourth Geneva Convention - The PA claims that Israel's law to deduct the amount of the PA’s payments to terrorists and their families from taxes Israel collects for the PA (passed on July 2, 2018) breaches the Fourth Geneva Convention (GCIV). This is incorrect, as it applies only to “internees,” and not to terrorists who are standing trial, convicted, or released from prison, and likewise not to the families of dead terrorists. The only “internees” held by Israel are Palestinian terrorists held in administrative detention in accordance with Article 78 of GCIV, and Israel fulfills all its obligations vis-a-vis these “internees.”

PA claim that Israeli law to deduct PA tax revenues breaches the Oslo Accords - The 1995 Oslo Accords adopted the 1994 Protocol on Economic Relations between Israel and the PLO, provided that Israel would collect certain taxes (import duties, V.A.T., and income tax in certain circumstances) from Palestinians and transfer them to the PA. This was conditional on the PA upholding its commitments to combat terrorism and incitement, among other things.
The legality of the Israeli law to deduct the amount of the PA’s payments to terrorists and their families from taxes Israel collects for the PA (passed on July 2, 2018) was discussed by the Israeli Parliament Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, and the clear conclusion was that even if the new legislation contravened terms of the Oslo Accords, the PA’s using a portion of this tax money to pay salaries to imprisoned and released terrorists and allowances to the families of dead terrorists is a direct breach of numerous provisions of the Oslo Accords, making the freezing of this money legal.

Headline: “Shaath: We will not exchange our national rights for millions, and the sanctions will not frighten us”
“[PA] President [Mahmoud Abbas'] advisor on Foreign Affairs and International Relations and acting Head of the [PLO] Department for Expatriates’ Affairs Nabil Shaath said that the Palestinian people does not have to wait for the official announcement of ‘the deal of the century’ (refers to US President Donald Trump’s as yet unpublished Middle East peace plan -Ed.) in order to express our opinions about it, and we will not exchange our national rights for millions.
During separate meetings that he held on Thursday [Feb. 14, 2019] with the ambassadors of South Korea, Japan, Hungary, and Tunisia, he added that the Trump administration has lost the ability to sponsor the peace process due to the many steps it has taken against our people’s rights...
He also emphasized that the Palestinians will not be silent about the acts of theft that Israel is committing by cutting the Palestinian money (refers to Israeli law to deduct terrorist salaries from PA tax money; see note below -Ed.), and we will turn to the international courts to restore the rights of the members of our people.”
[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Feb 15, 2019]

Headline: "The [PA] Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates: We will protect our people's money according to international law"
"The [PA] Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatiates condemned the occupation's decision to steal the Palestinian tax money (i.e., refers to Israeli law to deduct terror salaries from PA tax money; see note below) under false excuses and pretexts, and in a way that contradicts all of the agreements that were signed and the Israeli commitments on this matter. It also considered this an inseparable part of the occupation's comprehensive and open war against our people, its leadership, and its firm and legal national rights, and as an attempt to destroy the foundations of our people standing firm on all of the land of our homeland and its adherence to the basic principles of its national rights.
The ministry said in a statement yesterday [Feb. 11, 2019]: 'This decision of the occupation comes in conjunction with the escalation of the steps by [US President Donald] Trump's administration that are meant to strangle and dry up the financial sources of the State of Palestine and its institutions by tightening the financial siege (apparently referring to the stopping of USAID funds - at the PA’s request; see note below -Ed.) and preventing money transfers to the Palestinian treasury.’ ...
The ministry continued: ‘If the Americans and Israelis think that this policy will succeed in achieving their colonialist expansions plans, they are deluded - particularly since we have already faced more difficult circumstances than this and our people has succeeded in holding on, standing firm, and overcoming the difficult and ongoing challenges while the occupation and its allies have failed to subjugate our people and cause it to concede its just and legal national rights.’”
[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Feb. 12, 2019]


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