Israeli version of Taylor Force Act heads to final vote, with PMW’s input
Bill To Punish Palestinians For Pay-For-Slay Scheme Heads To Final Vote
A bill meant to discourage the Palestinian Authority from continuing to pay terrorists can go to a final vote after the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee authorized it Monday.
The legislation requires the government to deduct the amount the Palestinian Authority pays terrorists from the taxes and tariffs Israel collects for the PA, and is backed by MKs from the coalition and much of the opposition.
The PA paid terrorists over a billion shekels ($347 million) in 2017, and upped the amount to over NIS 1.4 billion ($403 million) in its 2018 budget, according to a Defense Ministry report based on the PA’s budget.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised the bill’s passage, and said it will be used to pay damages for fields destroyed by Gazans launching incendiary kites into Israel: “Justice should be done here. Whoever burns fields should know it has a price.” “This bill fixes a historic injustice,” Yesh Atid MK Elazar Stern, who proposed the bill, said. “This is a bill that will reduce terrorism.”
The committee voted for Stern’s version of the bill, which mandates the deduction with no options for flexibility, as opposed to the Defense Ministry’s draft, which sought to allow the government to decide each year whether to make the deduction or not, and how much, based on diplomatic and other considerations. The amount deducted will be invested in a fund to pay damages to victims of terror, among other areas. Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee chairman Avi Dichter (Likud) said the panel made history: “Israel will no longer be a pipeline for transferring money to terrorists.”
Much of Monday’s committee meeting was dedicated to discussing the flexibility the government sought to keep in the bill. “I’ve never heard of a situation where you pass a law, and in special circumstances a, the government can decide to cancel it forever,” Dichter said. Bayit Yehudi MK Shul Muallem Refaeli said that whoever opposes terrorism should oppose funneling money to terrorists: “There are some things you can’t do halfway. There should be no flexibility.”
Maurice Hirsch, former head of the IDF Prosecution for Judea and Samaria and current head of Legal Strategies for Palestinian Media Watch, suggested that, if flexibility is necessary in order for the law it pass, any freezing of the deductions would require approval from the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.
In the end, the committee went with no flexibility at all in the draft for a final vote.
Note- an additional article about the bill's passage by JNS can be found here