A Palestinian suicide bombing in Tel Aviv, March 4, 1996. (AP/Israel Hadari) (AP/Israel Hadari)
BOMB SCENE

By May 9, Palestinian banks must close accounts of known terrorists or face penalties under an Israeli law designed to stop the pay-for-slay policy.

By Yakir Benzion, United With Israel

Palestinian authorities are getting worried about a pending deadline for a new Israeli law banning the financial support of terrorists, a leading media watchdog group said Monday

A letter sent last month by Palestine Media Watch to Palestinian banks warning them to drop the accounts of convicted terrorists who get paid by the Palestinian Authority appears to have provoked concern.

“The Palestinian Authority is showing great anxiety in response to Palestinian Media Watch’s letter,” said PMW director Itamar Marcus, noting that various Arab media outlets reported on the anxiety of Palestinian officials.

“Numerous articles and news stories have appeared in the PA as well as Arab media across the Middle East from Al-Akhbar in Lebanon to Al-Jazeera in Qatar” that all pointed out Palestinian concerns over the new law, Marcus said.

Maurice Hirsch, Director of Legal Strategies at Palestinian Media Watch, heads the legal campaign to stop the “pay-for-slay” phenomenon. The Palestinian Authority pays $150 million annually to the families of Palestinians who were killed in attacks against Israelis, including mass murders like car bombings and suicide bombings, and to terrorists in jail convicted of attacking or killing Israelis.

“We do not expect the banks to respond to PMW directly,” Hirsch said. “What we would hope to see are reports that the Palestinian banks are preparing to discontinue the services they have provided to the terrorist prisoners.”

After more than a $1 billion payout over the years for Pay-for-Slay, Hirsch said the goal of the new law is to “close the noose around this disgraceful policy.”

He noted that the PA can only sustain its terror rewarding policy “thanks to the financial aid it receives from the European Union.”

The letter warned Palestinian banks that continuing to maintain the accounts of terrorists would expose the management and employees to liability as “partners in crime.”

“The bank is likely to be considered a body that gave material support to terror, with all of the implications of such including civil suits to compensate the victims of the acts of terror,” the letter stated.

The letter called on the banks to not only freeze the accounts, but the transfer the assets to the IDF Military Commander for Judea and Samaria.

The Voice of Palestinian radio station reported in April that Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas’s response was that for the Palestinian “government, all the factions, and all of the Palestinian people that the prisoners and martyrs [Palestinians killed in terror attacks against Israel] are a crown on our heads. Therefore the salaries of the martyrs and prisoners can’t be stopped, and certainly a stand will be taken against every Israeli measure.”

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