PA PM: We can’t accept tax deductions, prisoners are fighters, not terrorists who “sacrificed their blood for Palestine”
Official PA TV program Topic of the Day, on a meeting of the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee – an international donor group for the Palestinians – in Brussels on April 30, 2019; hosting PA Prime Minister Muhammad Shtayyeh
PA Prime Minister Muhammad Shtayyeh: "We unequivocally want all of our money in full. We will not agree to be subjected to extortion, because if we agree to deductions (referring to the Israeli Anti "Pay-for-Slay” Law to deduct terror salaries; see note below –Ed.), it will have ominous political consequences, and it will have legal implications for us as an authority, and on the banking sector, and on the beneficiaries and such. Therefore, we are unable to denounce our prisoners in any way. Our prisoners are in the prisons for the homeland's freedom. Our prisoners are in the prisons because they are cases of fighting, and not cases of terror as Israel claims. In general, we – as [PA] President [Mahmoud Abbas] has said more than once: 'If we are down to the last penny, it will be designated for the prisoners and the families of the Martyrs (Shahids), who have sacrificed their blood for Palestine.' This was in the framework of the agreement. When the [Palestinian] Authority pays the families of the prisoners and the Martyrs, it is actually within the framework of the agreement, and not in violation of the agreement. Of course there is incitement. I must say there is great incitement from the Israeli side in the European parliaments, and there is great incitement in the European states, claiming that by doing this the PA is funding the prisoners' families and the Martyrs’ families, as if it is funding terror. We have responded to these things clearly today, and have said that we will continue in our commitment towards our prisoners and towards our Martyrs, and we cannot be extorted on this cause."
IIsrael'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]