Enough of enabling the Palestinian Authority to reward terrorists, says Israel’s finance minister.
Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich announced on Thursday the signing of an order doubling the amount of tax and tariff revenue Israel withholds from the Palestinian Authority because of its “par for slay” policy.
“The P.A. finances terrorists and the State of Israel is saying ‘Enough.’ Israeli citizens will not be a part of this farce,” said Smotrich when announcing the move.
He said that Jerusalem had withheld NIS 100 million from the revenue collected and transferred to the P.A. in accordance with the Oslo Accords.
Israel’s Security Cabinet earlier this month approved several punitive measures against the Palestinian Authority in response to what it described as Ramallah’s ongoing “political and legal war” against the Jewish state.
The move came a week after the U.N. General Assembly, at the P.A.’s behest, passed a resolution calling on the International Court of Justice to “render urgently an advisory opinion” on Israel’s “prolonged occupation, settlement and annexation of Palestinian territory.”
As part of the measures, the Security Cabinet decided to withhold funds collected on behalf of the P.A., in an amount equal to that which Ramallah paid to terrorists and their families in 2022 under its “pay-for-slay” policy.
Now, Smotrich has doubled that sum.
P.A. Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh said the punitive measures imposed on the P.A. would “promptly lead to its collapse.”
In an interview with Haaretz, Shtayyeh described the Security Cabinet decision as “another nail in the Palestinian Authority’s coffin, unless there is immediate intervention by the international community, namely the [Biden] administration in Washington and Arab countries.
“Previous Israeli governments worked to eliminate the two-state solution, and the current government is fighting the Palestinian Authority itself,” he added.
Shortly thereafter, Jerusalem transferred 138.8 million shekels ($39.5 million) of revenues collected for the P.A. to victims of terrorism and their families.
At a press conference, Smotrich said, “We promised to fix this, and today we are correcting an injustice. This is an important day for morality, for justice and for the fight against terrorism. There is no greater justice than offsetting the funds of the Authority, which acts to support terrorism, and transferring them to the families of the victims of terrorism.”
The P.A. pays monthly stipends to Palestinians and/or their families for carrying out terrorist attacks against Israel. In 2021, the P.A. paid out an estimated 512 million shekels ($157 million) as part of this “pay for slay” policy.
Smotrich on Thursday said that he was deducting an additional NIS 200,000 from P.A. funds that will instead be given to Israelis who lost family members to Palestinian terrorist attacks.
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