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PA PM annoyed that participating in and rewarding terror has consequences

Maurice Hirsch, Adv.  |

In the eyes of the Palestinian Authority and its Prime Minister Muhammad Shtayyeh, Palestinians - including PA employees - are entitled to participate in terror and indiscriminately murder Israelis, and should be able to do so with full impunity. That is why Shtayyeh lashed out when Israel’s government decided to use the tax money that Israel collects and transfers to the PA every month to fully pay compensation awarded to terror victims who sued the PA for its direct involvement in terror and to implement Israel’s Anti “Pay-for-Slay” Law.

Claiming that these decisions were “an attempt to topple the PA and push it to the brink financially,” Shtayyeh added that the “acts of robbery, theft, and revenge by the occupying force will not dissuade our people and its leadership from continuing their political, diplomatic, and legal struggle.”

[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Jan. 10, 2023]

In reality, Israel simply did justice to the victims of PA terror, paying them the compensation they had fought for almost two decades to receive and punished the PA for obstinately clinging to its policy of paying substantial cash rewards to terrorists as a prize for their acts of terror.

 

PA denies justice to victims of terror
 

Regarding the decision to use the tax money Israel collects and transfers to the PA to pay the 139 million shekels (almost $40.5 million) judgment against the PA for its involvement in terror, Shtayyeh said:

“The prime minister emphasized that the Israeli courts’ deduction rulings, the latest of which was the deduction of 139 million shekels, as compensation for Israelis who were killed by Palestinians, are illegal and illegitimate, and we do not recognize them. He said: ‘It is important that we remember that there are a number of lawsuits in the Israeli courts against the PA, which hold it responsible for every military operation carried out by any Palestinian against Israel. We know that the Israeli courts are political, and therefore the results are known in advance, and they are always against us.’”

[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Jan. 10, 2023]

To put Shtayyeh’s comment into context, one must understand what cases were decided and why the PA was held responsible.

 

During the 2000-2005 PA-initiated terror campaign, over 1,100 Israelis were murdered in thousands of terror attacks. The victims of some of those attacks sued the PA and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) for their direct involvement in those attacks. At the end of litigation conducted for over 15 years, the Jerusalem District court, in a decision that spread over 1,254 pages, found the PA/PLO liable for the terror attacks. The court’s decision was based on the informatin that Palestinian Media Watch supplied to the court, that the PA pays salaries to imprisoned terrorists and the finding that PA officials, including PA policemen and members of the PA Security Forces, had directly participated in terror attacks, or that the PA had knowingly provided weapons to terrorists in order to carry out attacks against Israelis and Israeli targets.

 

The cases discussed in the decision included, inter alia: 

  • The “Lynch in Ramallah” (Oct. 2000) - in which PA policemen and an enraged mob brutally murdered two Israeli soldiers who had accidentally strayed into Ramallah and were being held in the PA police station
  • The attack on the Kids’ Bus (Nov. 2000) - in which members of the PA Security Forces fired mortars at a bus carrying Jewish kids on their way to school
  • Cases of Palestinians kidnapped and tortured by the PA Security Forces as suspected “collaborators with Israel”
  • Cases of terror attacks carried out by members of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades (2000-2002) - the terror wing of Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah party that has dominated the PA since its creation - with weapons and funding supplied to them by the PA  

In other words, according to the PA and Shtayyeh, Jews murdered in terror attacks by PA employees, or with weapons and funding supplied by the PA to members of internationally designated terror organizations, are not even entitled to any claim for damages. In the eyes of the PA and Shtayyeh, terror attacks like the lynch in Ramallah, attacks on buses carrying children, and supplying weapons and funding for suicide attacks, are not universally rejected terror, but merely Palestinian “military operation[s].” 

 

While there is not a shadow of a doubt that the PA was responsible for the terror attacks included in the judgment, in the eyes of Shtayyeh and the PA the victims should be denied compensation, because the PA is just a victim of the “political” and biased courts.  

 

The PA’s “Pay-for-Slay” policy

 

Regarding the Israeli government’s decision to implement Israel’s Anti “Pay-for-Slay” Law, Shtayyeh similarly turned reality on its head.

“He [Shtayyeh] explained that the deductions concerning the allowances of the prisoners and the Martyrs stand in total at approximately 2 billion shekels (over $580 million -Ed.) since the start of 2019 and until the end of 2022,”

[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Jan. 10, 2023]

As PMW has unequivocally shown, the PA has been paying ever-growing financial rewards to terrorists since its creation. As part of the policy, the PA pays substantial monthly salaries to imprisoned terrorists and released terrorists and monthly allowances to injured terrorists and the families of dead terrorists. These payments are collectively known as the PA’s “Pay-for-Slay” policy.
 

In 2018, Israel responded to the PA terror promotion and incentivization by passing an Anti “Pay-for-Slay” legislation.

 

As part of the Oslo Peace Accords (a generic name for a series of Israeli-Palestinian agreements signed between 1993 and 1995), Israel agreed to waive some of its income from taxes in favor of the PA. These taxes account for 65%-70% of the PA’s entire income, and as such are used, at least partially, by the PA to pay the terror rewards.

 

According to Israel’s Anti “Pay-for-Slay” Law, at the end of each year Israel’s minister of defense is required to submit a report to the Security Cabinet, in which he stipulates the PA’s expenditure in the past year on its terror rewards. Once approved, the amount stipulated by the minister is then deducted in twelve equal parts from the taxes Israel collects and gives to the PA.

 

To date, the law has been implemented on a number of occasions:

  • In 2019, Israel’s Security Cabinet ordered the deduction of 651 million shekels/US$191.4 million (the estimated sum the PA paid to terrorists in 2018)
  • In 2020, the Security Cabinet ordered the deduction of 609 million shekels/US$179 million (the estimated sum the PA paid to terrorists in 2019)
     
  • In 2021, the Security Cabinet ordered the deduction of 610 million shekels/US$179.3 million (the estimated sum the PA paid to terrorists in 2020)
  • In 2022, the Security Cabinet ordered the deduction of 610 million shekels/US$179.3 million (the estimated sum the PA paid to terrorists in 2021)

While the deductions regarding the PA terror payments in 2018, 2019, and 2020 have been completed, the deduction for 2021, which was decided upon in July 2022, will continue till the end of June 2023. Accordingly, Israel has, as of the end of December 2022, deducted a cumulative sum of 2,175 billion shekels /US$639.4 million.
 

Following the PA push in the United Nations to refer the subject of the alleged “ongoing occupation of the Palestinian territories” to the International Court of Justice, on January 5th the Security Cabinet decided to implement the Anti “Pay-for-Slay” Law regarding the PA’s payments to terrorists in 2022. The sum to be deducted has not yet been disclosed.

 

Despite the deductions, PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas has repeatedly declared that even if the PA has “just one penny left” in its coffers, it will be paid first to the terrorists.

PA TV narrator: “Armed with the power of the right, adhering to the national principles, defying the political pressures, defending Jerusalem… Despite the blackmail, he defends the right of the Martyrs, the wounded, and the prisoners.”

Mahmoud Abbas: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, 30, July 2, 3 (twice), 4, 6, 7, 8, 13 (twice), 17 (twice) 23, 26, Aug. 9 (three times), 13, 14, 20, 21, 29, 30 (twice), Sept. 26, Oct. 31, 2021, Jan. 30, Feb. 18, 2022]

Even though Shtayyeh refers to the implementation of the Anti “Pay-for-Slay” Law as “acts of robbery, theft, and revenge by the occupying force,” in reality, the deductions are merely a response to the PA’s terror rewards. If the PA were to abandon its terror-incentivizing policy, the PA would gain three-fold:

 

Firstly, it would save itself more than 600 million shekels/US$176.4 million the sum it pays every year to the terrorists. Secondly, Israel would not be forced to implement its Anti “Pay-for-Slay” Law, and the sum the PA saved itself by not paying the terror payments would be doubled as Israel would transfer the PA tax money as agreed. Finally, the PA would again be able to enjoy hundreds of millions of dollars of additional international aid from countries such as the United States, Canada, Australia, the Netherlands, and others, who have all decided to cancel or limit aid to the PA as a direct response to its terror rewards. 
 

While Shtayyeh repeatedly plays the victim card and blames Israel for the PA’s financial difficulties, this is not a question of “Which came first, the chicken or the egg?” Had the PA not implemented its terror reward policy, neither Israel nor the international community would have to penalize the PA. For as long as the PA continues to reward terror, it has no one to blame for its financial woes other than itself.