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Op-ed demands austerity plan to deal with Israeli tax deductions, private business people should create fund for terrorists' salaries

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

Headline: "Let us begin with the senior officials"

"We think that interim [PA] Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah, and also the [PA] ministers, will be the first to initiate and act for the implementation of a national plan in order to provide what is required for the sake of resolve, and in order to strengthen the national position ofthe leadership, which adheres to its position to continue to pay the allowances of the prisoners and the Martyrs' (Shahids') families, and to refuse to accept the tax money that is not in full (referring to the implementation of the Israeli "Pay-for-Slay" Law to deduct terrorist salaries; see note below –Ed.)…

We can serve as an example of social responsibility and solidarity…

Let us begin by reexamining the system of paying the very large amounts that are allocated to the government officials and their miscellaneous expenses, and also the payments that are allocated to hospitality, travel, and such. [Let us begin by] declaring an obligatory austerity plan, which will include all of the areas of activity of our official institutions…

We know that the official institutions (the government ministries and authorities) [parentheses in source] can waive some of their budget items, or at least reduce them as much as possible…

The PLO, as the legitimate and sole representative of the Palestinian people, bears thefull responsibility to act loyally towards the Martyrs (Shahids), prisoners, and wounded. In order for us to continue to pay the prisoners' allowances, [and to pay] the families of the Martyrs and [to pay] the wounded – as a sacred principle that must not be harmed – the business people and the company owners who are on the lists of millionaires and billionaires can establish a special fund, which will support the PLO fund for the families of the Martyrs, the prisoners, and the wounded… As for us, as a society – we must break loose from the habit of wasting [money]…

This requires a reexamination of all of our habits and traditions, as the little that can be said of them is that they do not befit us as a people who the occupation still controls [every] area of its life; there are many phenomena here of wasting [money] that an intelligent person cannot accept, especially if he knows that they come from a fighting society, which is struggling with an occupation for its liberation."

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]