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PA Minister instructs PA preachers to speak about how "the Al-Aqsa Mosque is ours and our prisoners are the foundations of our national enterprise"

Headline: “Ida’is in instructions to Friday preachers: The Al-Aqsa Mosque is ours and our prisoners are the foundations of our national enterprise”

“[PA] Minister of Religious Affairs Sheikh Yusuf Ida’is yesterday [Feb. 20, 2019] instructed the preachers of Palestine to speak during the coming Friday sermon about the theft of the Palestinian people’s money, which the occupation government intends to carry out on pretexts that contradict the international and humanitarian conventions and the political and economic agreements (refers to implementation of Israeli law to deduct terrorist salaries from PA tax money; see note below and notes on claims the law breaches international conventions and agreements –Ed.).

He emphasized that the position of the Palestinian leadership – which is represented by [PA] President Mahmoud Abbas’ decision on the matter (i.e., his decision not to receive any tax money if any is deducted) – isclear proof of the importance of the prisoners and their family members in our national enterprise and in the policy of the Palestinian [PA] government, which is making every effort to support the prisoners…

Ida’is also demanded that the preachers speak about the Jerusalem residents’ resolve in defending the Al-Aqsa Mosque, and as part of this, its gates, its plazas, its facilities, and its 144 dunams (i.e., approximately 35.6 acres).He emphasized that it is necessary to explain the danger of the attack on the Gate of Mercy and the activity to turn it into a synagogue where the settler gangs will hold their Talmudic (i.e., Jewish) prayers (sic., Israel closed a compound near the Gate of Mercy after the Jordanian Waqf reopened it in breach of a court order, there are no plans to turn the site into a synagogue; see note below)…

He demanded that the preachers send a firm message through Palestine’s mosques to the occupation government: The Palestinian people will not continue to be silent about the severe violations of our sovereignty over the Al-Aqsa Mosque, and will resist all of the occupation’s steps.”

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]

 

PA claim that Israel's Anti "Pay-for-Slay" Law breaches Article 81 of the Fourth Geneva Convention - The PA claims that Israel's law to deduct the amount of the PA’s payments to terrorists and their families from taxes Israel collects for the PA (passed on July 2, 2018) breaches Article 81 of the Fourth Geneva Convention (GCIV). This is incorrect, as Article 81 applies only to “internees,” and not to terrorists who are standing trial, convicted, or released from prison, and likewise not to the families of dead terrorists. The only “internees” held by Israel are Palestinian terrorists held in administrative detention in accordance with Article 78 of GCIV, and Israel fulfills all its obligations vis-a-vis these “internees.”

 

PA claim that Israeli law to deduct PA tax revenues breaches the Oslo Accords - The 1995 Oslo Accords adopted the 1994 Protocol on Economic Relations between Israel and the PLO, provided that Israel would collect certain taxes (import duties, V.A.T., and income tax in certain circumstances) from Palestinians and transfer them to the PA. This was conditional on the PA upholding its commitments to combat terrorism and incitement, among other things. The legality of the Israeli law to deduct the amount of the PA’s payments to terrorists and their families from taxes Israel collects for the PA (passed on July 2, 2018) was discussed by the Israeli Parliament Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, and the clear conclusion was that even if the new legislation contravened terms of the Oslo Accords, the PA’s using a portion of this tax money to pay salaries to imprisoned and released terrorists and allowances to the families of dead terrorists is a direct breach of numerous provisions of the Oslo Accords, making the freezing of this money legal.

 

February 2019 Temple Mount clashes – Muslim riots broke out on the Temple Mount starting Feb. 18, 2019, after the Israeli police closed a compound near the Gate of Mercy after the Jordanian Waqf had violated an Israeli court order by reopening the compound the previous week. The compound was ordered sealed in 2017 given that it was managed by the banned Islamic Movement in Israel and used for illegal construction and antiquities destruction.