(Twitter Screenshot)
beersheba terror attack

This was in response to PA payments to families of terrorists, sparking renewed controversy.

By Pesach Benson, TPS

Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich ordered 130 million shekels ($35 million) in tax revenue collected for the Palestinian Authority be redirected to terror victims, Smotrich said on Thursday morning.

“The Palestinian Authority encourages and favors terrorism by paying the families of terrorists, prisoners and released prisoners. In accordance with the judgments that awarded compensation to the victims of terrorism, we offset the same amounts from the PA’s funds and transfer the awarded money to the families of the victims of terrorism,” Smotrich said on X, formerly known as Twitter.

“At this time, I signed an order that transfers about 130 million shekels from the PA’s frozen funds to victims of terrorism. Justice.”

In a move targeting Ramallah’s “pay for slay” stipends, the Knesset in March passed legislation allowing victims of Palestinian terror to more easily claim financial compensation from the Palestinian Authority.

Israeli officials say the stipends provide incentives for terror and regularly offset an equivalent amount from taxes that Israel collects on behalf of the PA. The new law allows families to collect judgments against the PA from the frozen funds.

In January, the Palestinian Authority expanded its list of beneficiaries for terror stipends, adding 3,550 Palestinians imprisoned in Israel since the October 7 massacres. According to Palestinian Media Watch, Ramallah will also make payments to more than 20,000 “martyrs,” including terrorists killed fighting Israeli forces in Gaza.

The Palestinian Authority allocates seven percent of its annual budget for its so-called “Martyr’s Fund,” which provides stipends to Palestinian terrorists in Israeli prisons, and the families of terrorists killed in attacks. The size of the monthly payouts is primarily determined by the duration of the terrorist’s incarceration, with a negligible additional factor based on family size.

Ramallah has been paying out stipends for years, but the issue came under a spotlight following the murder of Taylor Force, a U.S. citizen killed by a Palestinian who went on a stabbing rampage in Jaffa in 2018. Congress passed the Taylor Force Act, which halted U.S. aid to the Palestinians as long as terror stipends are being paid out.

U.S. assistance to the Palestinian Authority resumed under the administration of President Joe Biden. In December 2022, American victims of Palestinian terror filed a lawsuit against the President and Secretary of State Antony Blinken, arguing that the payments violate the Taylor Force Act. Congress has examined the issue as well.

As reported by The Press Service of Israel, Ramallah is examining the possibility of making indirect payments to satisfy US demands for reform.