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PA daily op-ed: Accepting Israeli tax money means recognizing Martyrs and prisoners as "terrorists”

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

Headline: “The tax money – a new battle for honor”

“Do those who did not like [PA] President Mahmoud Abbas’ decision to return the tax money (refers to PA response to Israel’s Anti “Pay-for-Slay” Law to deduct terrorist salaries; see note below –Ed.), from which the cost of the salaries of the families of the Martyrs and the prisoners was deducted, know that the title of the law that terrorist [former Israeli Minister of Defense] Avigdor Liberman proposed was ‘the terror salaries’? Do they know that Israeli Parliament Member Avi Dichter of the Likud party, one of the organizers of the bill, addressed the Palestinian leadership and said: ‘You are spending 7% of your budget on terror funding.’? …

Do the critics not see that the leadership agreeing to accept the partial tax money is a kind of willing recognition of the Israeli law, which is called ‘the terror salaries,’ and which was legislated on the basis of ‘the war on terror funding’?

What has blinded these critics and caused them to ignore the fact that if we accept the tax money, this means that we recognize that the self-sacrificing fighters (Fedayeen) – the Martyrs, prisoners, and released prisoners… will be considered terrorists, not just by virtue of the Israeli law but also by virtue of our agreeing to the deduction…

We know for certain that the Israeli Parliament members who legislated the law know well that every Palestinian or Arab fighter and self-sacrificing fighter who was with us and who fell as a Martyr or fell into captivity acted in accordance with the laws and conventions of the international institutions, which have given him the right to legal resistance against the occupation and settlements. (sic., Palestinian terrorists target civilians and no law allows that, see note below)

A Palestinian patriot would never register to his detriment an agreement defining the Palestinian, Arab, and foreign self-sacrificing fighters who have fought together with us for freedom as ‘terrorists.’ Likewise, we will not register to our detriment the disgrace of betraying the families of the Martyrs and the prisoners; it is more dignified to commit suicide, if not to die of starvation, than to reach the day when we would sell the honor of the revolutionary and the revolution and our national honor.”

UN Resolution 3236 - 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."

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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