Fatah member with a photo of Mahmoud Abbas. (Majdi Fathi/TPS) Majdi Fathi/TPS
Fatah member with a photo of Mahmoud Abbas

Justices rule that terror stipends amount to “retroactive authorization” for violence.

By Pesach Benson, United With Israel

Israel’s High Court of Justice ruled on Sunday that the Palestinian Authority can be held liable for terrorism, because the terror stipends it pays out condone the violence.

“[The PA] expresses its consent to their actions, in a manner that takes responsibility for the acts. This justifies that [the PA] will be assigned personal and direct responsibility,” said the ruling, written by Justice Yitzhak Amit.

The High Court was hearing an appeal brought by four families who lost relatives to separate Palestinian terror attacks during the Second Intifada. The Jerusalem District Court dismissed their petition to hold the PA liable. Following High Court ruling, the case returns to the district court to determine the the compensation the PA owes them.

Lawyers for the plaintiffs argued that the PA’s “pay for slay” payouts to imprisoned Palestinian terrorists and the families of dead terrorists amounted to “retroactive authorization” which “ratified” violence.

The ruling stressed, however, that terror victims can sue the PA for compensation, but not more costly punitive damages.

The terror stipends are paid out by the Palestinian Authority’s Martyr’s Fund. The size of the monthly payouts depends on various factors such as how many Israelis were killed, how long the terrorist has been incarcerated and family size.

The Martyrs Fund budget is not known as the PA is not transparent about its bookkeeping. In 2020, Palestinian leaders showed European officials a fake budget with terror stipends erased.

The PA has been paying out stipends for years, but the issue came under broader attention and criticism 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.

Israel, which collects certain taxes on behalf of the Palestinian Authority, has been deducting the sums spent by Ramallah on terror stipends from monthly revenue transfers to the PA.

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