Lebanese daily condemns PMW for threatening Palestinian banks over terrorists' bank accounts
Headline: "Israel incriminates the banks: Freeze the accounts of the prisoners and their relatives"
"Israel does not miss any trick to deny the allowances of the prisoners and the Martyrs and their families: Once by passing laws that allow the deduction of the sums that the [Palestinian] Authority pays from the annual tax transfers (i.e., Israel's Anti "Pay-for-Slay" Law to deduct terror salaries; see note below), another time through the states of the West that were asked to pressure Ramallah so that they would stop the allowance payments. And in the end, the solution was found: Impudence. The enemy has threatened to fine the Palestinian banks and put them on trial for ‘participating in the murder of Israelis’!
The enemy’s impudence has reached the point where [PMW Head of Legal Strategies, and] former Israeli Military Advocate General in the occupied West Bank Atty. Maurice Hirsch is threatening the Palestinian banks that they will be exposed to lawsuits if they continue paying the allowances of the Palestinian prisoners that the PA transfers. Hirsch [and PMW director Itamar Marcus] sent a letter to the banks in which he noted that on Feb. 9  ‘the military commander in the West Bank signed the Order for Security Provisions (amendment no. 67) (no. 1827 in 2020) [parentheses in source],’ and according to the new amendment 'The monthly allowances the PA pays to the prisoners constitute a prohibited action with terror assets (This is an accurate quote of the letter, aside from substituting "allowances" for "salaries" and “terrorists imprisoned by Israel” for “the prisoners” –Ed.).’
Hirsch, who heads the Palestinian Media Watch institute (sic., the director of PMW is Itamar Marcus), threatened the banks that ‘As long as you continue holding accounts for imprisoned terrorists, you are turning yourself personally and the bank employees into partners in crime. A conviction for such a crime carries a sentence of up to seven years of imprisonment and a heavy fine.' (Accurate quote –Ed.). Beyond this, the former advocate general even said that if prisoners' accounts are found in the bank, either in their names or the names of their relatives or another person with their power of attorney, then 'The bank must freeze them and transfer them to the military commander of the West Bank region.' This means that if, for example, the brother of a prisoner has a bank account and he puts his salary into it, and [if] he is [also] the person with power of attorney to whom his prisoner brother's allowance money is sent, then this means that the bank must freeze this person's account.
The letter does not stop with orders to freeze accounts that are not subject to the Central Bank of Israel's authority. In addition to the fact that the letter is not yet Israeli legislation, it views the payments as 'reward for committing acts of terror,' which turns the Palestinian bank into 'a body that provides material support to terror, with everything this implies, including civil lawsuits to compensate the victims of the acts [of terror].'
In other words, if the bank does not accede [to the demand to freeze the accounts], then Israeli wounded who were wounded in [Palestinian] acts of resistance, or the families of those killed, will be able to sue and demand compensation.
The threat is a completion of the freezing of the accounts of the relatives of the 1948 prisoners in the Israeli banks
The new threat, as Atty. Amani Ibrahim says to [Lebanese paper] Al-Akhbar, is ‘a completion of the decision issued by the Israeli army recently about freezing the accounts of relatives of the prisoners from among the 1948 Palestinians (i.e., Israeli Arab terrorists), and who the army thinks (since there is no evidence) [parentheses in source] is the beneficiary to whom the prisoners' allowance money is transferred. The army thinks for instance that Sana'a Salameh, the wife of prisoner Walid Daqqa (i.e., terrorist, involved in murder of 1), is his beneficiary, and therefore it froze her account, and this was also done with Jamal Bayadseh, the brother of prisoner Ibrahim [Bayadseh] (i.e., terrorist, responsible for the murder of 1).' Despite this, relatives of the 1948 prisoners, whose accounts have been frozen have submitted lawsuits in which they are attempting to prove that the money in their accounts is private money, and that there is no proof that it is their relatives' allowance money, in an attempt that 'will apparently succeed in overcoming the freeze decisions,' added [Atty. Amani] Ibrahim.
It seems that the occupation authorities have understood that this path is efficient for taking over the allowances of the 1948 prisoners, or freezing them, and therefore they sent a threatening letter to the Palestinian banks that contain all of the prisoners' [accounts], including people of occupied Palestine who they think have accounts there. What Israel wants [to achieve] with this threat is more than control over the allowances, as it is an invasion of their relatives' privacy by government order. All of this joins the legislation that has been passed in the Israeli Parliament in the last two years, which has been used more than once to refrain [from transferring] the money that Israel collects for the PA, which are estimated to be $190 million a month – and these are taxes on merchandise that passes through the Israeli ports and crossings on their way to the Palestinian markets. Israel has used the card of this pressure more than once, and this has left Ramallah with a large deficit, which has forced it to cut the salaries of its employees by half for a number of months.
Since the PA recognizes the sensitivity of the matter of the prisoners and Martyrs in the Palestinian society, and that every step taken on this matter is liable to cause negative effects in this society, which might be turned against the PA itself – it has attempted more than once to bypass the Israeli decisions and the European and American pressures on this matter in recent years.
This began with the dismantling of the [PA] Ministry of Prisoners and Released Prisoners' [Affairs], and turning it into an authority that is associated with the [Palestinian] Liberation Organization (PLO), so that the transfer of the allowances to the prisoners would be done from the [PLO] organization. However, now it is still not known what solution or maneuvering can be implemented if lawsuits are submitted against Palestinian banks, or if direct steps are taken against them, whether by Ramallah or the banks themselves – with all of the major and severe effects that these steps are liable to have on the situation of the prisoners and their relatives, and on their future.”
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.
Walid Daqqa - Israeli Arab member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). He is serving a life sentence for being part of the squad that kidnapped and murdered Israeli soldier Moshe Tamam in 1984.
Israeli Arab terrorist and member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) terror organization who led the terror cell that kidnapped and murdered Israeli soldier Moshe Tamam in August 1984. The cell was apprehended in 1986 and its members were sentenced to life, but Israeli President Shimon Peres reduced their sentences in 2012 to terms of 35 to 45 years.