Israel

Knesset Overwhelmingly Passes Bill Deducting Payments to Terrorists from PA Aid

The Knesset overwhelmingly passed into law on Monday a bill that allows Israel to deduct the payments the Palestinian Authority makes to Palestinian terrorists and their families from the taxes Israel collects and passes on to the PA, The Times of Israel reported.

The bill, which passed 87-15, aims at ending the PA’s “Pay-To-Slay” program, which provide salaries to Palestinian terrorists who attack and murder Jews, as well as additional funds to their families.

Israeli lawmakers hailed the bipartisan nature of the legislation, which passed the same day Australia’s government announced that it would cut aid to the PA over its sponsorship for terrorism.

“The PA has turned itself into a factory that employs murderers of Jews mostly but also Muslims, Christians, Druze, Circassians, and others, including tourists,” said co-sponsor MK Avi Dichter of Likud and former head of Israel’s internal security agency, Shin Bet, who leads the Knesset’s influential Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.

Yesh Atid MK Elazar Stern, who also co-sponsored the bill, said similar legislation in the United States, known as the Taylor Force Act, had influenced the Israeli legislation. “It is an historic day. It’s a real step in order to reduce terror and also, as a result, it will help to achieve peace,” Stern said.

“We cannot live with a situation in which we pay our enemies to buy weapons or educate kids to kill as many innocents as they can,” he added.

On March 23, the Taylor Force Act, which passed both houses of Congress became law, ending most U.S. aid to the PA until the Palestinian leadership stops paying stipends to terrorists and their families.

According to figures released by the Israeli Defense Ministry, the PA in 2017 paid NIS 687 million ($198 million) to the so-called “martyrs’ families fund” and NIS 550 million ($160 million) to the Palestinian Prisoners’ Club — some 7 percent of its total budget. The Ministry further alleged that some Palestinian terrorists will throughout their lifetimes be paid more than NIS 10 million ($2.78 million) each by the PA for having murdered Jews.

PA President Mahmoud Abbas said in a speech in June 2017, read by PA foreign affairs adviser Nabil Shaath, that “payments to support families are a social responsibility to look after innocent people affected by the incarceration or killing of their loved ones.”

Stuart Force, the father of Taylor Force who traveled to Israel for the passing of the bill, observed in an interview on Monday that he hopes the new legislation will benefit peaceful Palestinian by ensuring that funds go to those who really need them.

“If the money that was being used to pay terrorists can be diverted back to the original process of helping the people, I think that could make their lives better. Then perhaps the whole peace process can be helped, to get things going again,” Force concluded.

[Photo: soccerdhg / Flickr ]