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Salaries to terrorists and murderers are “a sacred matter,” says Palestinian PM

PA Prime Minister Muhammad Shtayyeh:

"Israel surprised us with a decision by the military governor regarding the monetary allowances of the prisoners and their accounts in the banks. Last year [2019], Israel deducted from our monetary rights more than 700 million [Israeli] shekels, which is the amount of the allowances for the prisoners, the Martyrs, and their relatives. Now Israel is launching a campaign of intimidation, in a so-called ‘‘legal’’ framework, against the banks. I emphasize: In our point of view, the prisoners’ allowances are a sacred matter, and Israel’s measures against them do not intimidate us… We and the banks are making a general appeal and searching for solutions that will protect the prisoners’ allowances on the one hand, and protect the banks from the occupation’s threats on the other. "

Israeli army legislation which applies parts of Israel's 2016 Anti-Terror Law to the West Bank (taking effect on May 9, 2020). The law prohibits numerous terror related offenses, including terror funding/rewarding and holds heads of terror organizations responsible for murder committed by members of the organization. The law criminalizes the provision of funds for or the payment of rewards for the commission of terrorist offenses, such as the salaries the PA pays to terrorist prisoners and released prisoners. The provision also applies to any person or body - such as a bank - that facilitates such funding or rewarding of terror offenses. Based on this last provision, PMW sent letters in April 2020 to the heads of banks in the PA areas warning them that they must freeze the accounts of terrorists and their proxies and transfer them to the Israeli army or face legal consequences.

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]