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Israel Set to Deduct Amount of “Pay to Slay” Program from Taxes Collected for the PA

Israel’s Diplomatic-Security Cabinet is expected to announce in the coming weeks a major slash in the tax revenues that Israel collects on behalf of the Palestinian Authority, with the amount the PA pays to terrorists and their families to be deducted from the aid Israel hands over to the Palestinian leadership, JNS reported [1] on Monday.

The new legislation, introduced in the Knesset by lawmakers Elazar Stern (Yesh Atid) and Avi Dichter (Likud), overwhelmingly passed [2] the Israeli parliament in July with strong bipartisan support by a vote of 87 to 15.

The bill requires Israel’s Ministry of Defense to provide the cabinet with data on the amount the PA hands out to terrorists and their families. This is referred to as the PA’s “pay to slay” program.  The Finance Ministry will then deduct that amount from the tax funds. The ministry has not yet specified the amount to be withheld from the PA.

Stern said similar legislation in the United States, known as the Taylor Force Act, had influenced the Israeli legislation. On March 23, 2018, the Taylor Force Act, which passed both houses of Congress, became law [3], ending most U.S. aid to the PA until the Palestinian leadership stops paying stipends to terrorists and their families.

Dichter, who serves as chairman of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, noted that “every shekel the Palestinian Authority pays to terrorists will be deducted [from the tax funds]. That is how we create deterrence against terrorism.”

The PA paid out some 502 million shekels ($138 million) to living terrorists in 2018, according to recent Israeli media reports. The Palestinian Media Watch group meanwhile estimates that at least 230 million shekels ($63 million) had been paid to terrorists currently in prison.

Last month, the PA announced that it would reject all U.S. financial aid in protest of a new anti-terrorism law that took effect at the end of January and exposes the PA to costly lawsuits in U.S. courts for its involvement in acts of terror committed against U.S. citizens.

In an op-ed [4] published in JNS on Wednesday, TIP CEO and President Joshua S. Block, observed that “the decision to reject all U.S. aid money means that the P.A. has chosen terror over the well-being of its own civilian population.”

Block added: “Israel is told that it must make sacrifices for peace. In this instance, the P.A. is making a sacrifice so that it doesn’t have to make peace.”

[Photo: ILTV ISRAEL DAILY / YouTube ]