PA Minister of Finance explains pay cuts: Terrorists keep a full salary, but public employees and private sector must sacrifice
Press conference by PA Minister of Foreign Affairs Al-Malki and PA Minister of Finance Bishara
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.”
Israel's Anti "Pay-for-Slay" Law - 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]
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