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PA loses a billion shekels because of its terror reward policy

Maurice Hirsch, Adv.  |

This weekend, July 3, will mark three years since Israel adopted the “Law to freeze money that the Palestinian Authority has paid in connection with terrorism from the money transferred to it by the government of Israel, 2018” – popularly known as Israel’s “Anti-Pay-for-Slay” law. When the law passed, the members of Israel’s Parliament who promoted the law, MPs Avi Dichter and Elazar Stern, specifically thanked Palestinian Media Watch for helping to formulate and sculpt the law.

In a nutshell, the law provides that every year the Israeli Minister of Defense presents a report to the Israeli Security Cabinet in which he details how much the Palestinian Authority spent in the previous year paying financial rewards to imprisoned terrorists, released terrorists, wounded terrorists, and the families of dead terrorists – collectively known as the PA’s ”Pay-for-Slay” payments. Once approved, that sum is then deducted, in twelve installments, from the tax revenues that Israel agreed to waive in favor of the PA, as part of the Oslo Accords.

The rationale underpinning the law was provided by PMW. In its presentations, PMW proved that instead of using the tax revenues to fulfill its duty to combat terror, the PA was using the tax revenues to implement its pugnacious terror reward policy.

Since passed, the Security Cabinet has approved three of the four reports submitted by the Minister of Defense (the approval of the fourth report is pending). Symbolically, pursuant to these decisions, and in coincidental coordination with the anniversary of the passage of the law, today also marks the day when over one billion shekels have been deducted from the tax revenues.

The first decision to implement the law was made by the Security Cabinet in February 2019, shortly after the brutal murder of Ori Ansbacher. In that decision, the Security Cabinet decided to deduct a sum of approximately 502 million shekels ($138,572,080 at the time of the decision) – the sum PMW exposed as reflecting the PA’s payments to the terrorist prisoners and released prisoners in 2018. In the decision, the Security Cabinet instructed the Minister of Defense to present an additional report regarding the PA’s payments in 2018 to the wounded terrorists and the families of dead terrorists. 

The second decision to implement the law was made in December 2019. On this occasion, the Security Cabinet approved the deduction of approximately 149 million shekels ($43,148,910 at the time of the decision) – that being the sum stipulated by the Minister of Defense that the PA had spent in 2018 paying rewards to wounded terrorists and the families of dead terrorists.

The third decision to implement the law was taken at the end of November 2020. In that decision, the Security Cabinet approved the deduction of 609 million shekels ($183,796,200 at the time of the decision)  – that being the sum the PA had spent in 2019 on its ”Pay-for-Slay” payments. This sum is meant to have been divided into twelve parts, each just over 50 million shekels, and deducted at the end of each month starting with the end of December.

Accordingly, adding these figures together (502 million + 149 million + 350 million (7 months x 50 million)) gives a total of just over one billion shekels.

Israel was not alone in passing legislation to combat the PA’s “Pay-for-Slay” payments. In March prior to the passage of the Israeli law, the US adopted the Taylor Force Act which conditions US aid to the PA on the complete abolition of the ”Pay-for-Slay” policy, including, inter alia, the 2004 PA Law of Prisoners and Released Prisoners and regulations adopted pursuant to the law. When given the choice of receiving US aid or continuing to reward terrorists, the PA chose to reward terrorists.  

Indeed, despite the deductions and while aware of the consequences, the PA has made the positive decision to give precedence to continue paying the terror rewards, while ignoring the suicidal financial constraints. As PMW recently exposed, PA TV is repeatedly showing a video of PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas in which he declares that even if the PA is left with only one penny he will pay it to the terrorists:

“A blessing is sent to our loyal Martyrs, our prisoners, and their families who are standing firm and bearing their suffering with patience. We say to them, to the families of the Martyrs, that we will defend their rights regardless of the price we’ll have to pay. I won’t submit to what Israel has requested. I won’t submit. Even if I’m left with one penny, I’ll pay it to the families of the Martyrs, to the prisoners, and to the wounded, and I won’t withhold this from them.”

[Official PA TV, June 4 (twice), 5 (twice), 6 (four times), 9 (twice), 11 (twice), 12, 15, 16 (twice), 17, 18, 19, 20, 22, 26, 28, 2021]

While combatting the PA’s “Pay-for-Slay” payments is not simple, and will take time, it is nonetheless a moral imperative. Slowly, but surely, Israeli’s Anti-Pay-for-Slay law together with the Taylor Force Act and other measures, some of which have already been adopted while others still need to be adopted, will make a difference, and the PA will be forced to abolish its policy of rewarding terror, or face the consequences. 

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