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PA Finance Minister reveals cuts to continue paying terrorists

Headline: “The [PA] minister of finance reveals the date and details of the payment of the salaries to the [public] employees in Gaza and the West Bank”

“[PA] Minister of Finance Shukri Bishara on Sunday [March 10, 2019] revealed the mechanism and details of the transfer of the February salaries to the PA public employees in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.

Bishara said that 50% of the salaries will be transferred, and no less than 2,000 shekels. He noted that the reductions will be made for those with high salaries.

He said that ‘The salaries will be paid in full to all those whose salaries are less than 2,000 shekels, and that means that 40% of the [public] workers will receive their salaries in full.’

This was said at a joint press conference of Minister of Finance Shukri Bishara and [PA] Minister of Information Nabil Abu Rudeina on the [Palestinian] Authority’s financial situation and the salaries of the public employees in Gaza and the West Bank, due to Israel’s deduction of the tax money (refers to the Anti “Pay-for-Slay” Law to deduct terrorist salaries; see note below –Ed.) and the [PA] leadership’s refusal to accept the money while it is incomplete.

The minister of finance said that during the month of Ramadan and the Eid Al-Fitr holiday (i.e., Muslim holiday marking the end of Ramadan) the salaries will be transferred at a rate of 60% or 70% of the base salary.

In the same context, Bishara revealed that the PA will continue to require a periodic loan for a period of six months, and noted that all of the appointments, raises, and travel expenses have been stopped in order to deal with the financial crisis.

The minister of finance said that these decisions were made following a meeting that was held yesterday [March 9, 2019] led by [PA] President [Mahmoud] Abbas, and with the participation of [Fatah Deputy Chairman and Fatah Central Committee member] Mahmoud Al-Aloul, [PLO Executive Committee Secretary and Fatah Central Committee member] Saeb Erekat, [Head of PA General Intelligence in the West Bank] Majed Faraj, [Fatah Central Committee member and Head of Civil Affairs in the PA] Hussein Al-Sheikh, [PA Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates] Riyad Al-Malki, [PA Ministry of Justice Representative] Ali Muhanna, and [Deputy PA Prime Minister and PLO Executive Committee member] Ziad Abu Amr.

He also announced a freeze in appointments, raises, and the purchase of assets, the rationing of travel refunds, and other decisions in order to deal with the financial crisis.

He also said that President Abbas has adopted the principle of setting a reduced budget, and added: ‘We will budget according to what there is, in the framework of a scale of priorities.’

According to Bishara, the Israeli side has deducted 20,351,000,000 shekels from the Palestinian money during the past three years.”

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]