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PA daily op-ed rejects proposal to replace prisoners’ salaries with social aid according to financial conditions

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

Headline: "Even if we eat weeds!"

"Not even one name from the lists of Martyrs and prisoners will be transferred to the records of the welfare institutions – even if we have to resort to eating weeds and being homeless. This request (referring to EU proposal to turn terrorist salaries into needs based welfare payments; see note below –Ed.) is more dangerous than the law to deduct 'terror salaries' (i.e., Israel’s Anti "Pay-for-Slay" law; see note below –Ed.), based on which the occupying terrorists, the heads of the regime in Tel Aviv, are attempting to drag us into denying our humanity and abandoning our values, morals, and national principles…

We will not allow the Israeli racist 'terror salaries' law to be implemented against us as the antisemitic laws were implemented against Europe and the world, until they became a tool of oppression ready in advance, which prevents free people from expressing their positions and opinions about the crimes of the Israeli generals and diplomats…

We will prove to the world and to anyone who thinks that bargaining with us over the rights and freedom of the prisoners and the loyalty to the Martyrs, that their grants – as large as they may be, and even if there were treasures available to us –will not prevent us from upholding all of the legitimate rights of the Martyr's son, daughter, wife, mother, and father, and will not force us to turn the heroic self-sacrificing fighter (Fida’i) into just some criminal, terrorist, or [criminal] prisoner…

Let us imagine how the world would look if every state that occupied or invaded territories of another state and caused the death of hundreds of thousands of soldiers and citizens would ask the authorities of this state, the victim, to remove the monuments in memory of the anonymous soldiers, and those that illustrate the heroic acts of resistance against the invaders.

What type of human intelligence would be capable of comprehending the arguments of a colonialist state that asks the authorities of the occupied and colonized state to erase the lists of names of soldiers and civilians who have ascended [to Heaven] in defense of their homeland, or to turn them into lists of the welfare institutions that take care of the downtrodden and needy?"

EU proposal of welfare rather than terror salaries - an EU official made a proposal to the PA, in response to the PA financial crisis caused by its refusal to accept any tax money collected for it by Israel if terrorist salaries are deducted from it through Israel’s Anti “Pay-For-Slay” Law. On April 30, 2019, the EU official proposed reorganizing the PA payments to terrorists and their families as needs based welfare payments, rather than as direct payments for engaging in terror that increase according to the severity of the attack, and claimed this would remove any financial incentive for terrorism. The PA has rejected the proposal.

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. During the parliamentary vote, 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] In accordance with the law, as of September 2021 Israel’s Security Cabinet had ordered the freeze of 1.857 billion shekels ($580.15 million) - the sum equivalent to the PA payments to terrorists in 2018, 2019, and 2020.

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