Palestinian Authority scrambles to fork over cash to convicted terrorists as Palestinian banks refuse to cooperate due to potential criminal charges.
By Yakir Benzion, United With Israel
The Palestinian pay-for-slay program is in trouble and to avoid a new Israeli law that makes Palestinian banks liable, the Palestinian Authority is making an emergency three-month lump sum payment to convicted terrorists sitting in Israeli jails, the watchdog group Palestinian Media Watch reported this week.
The Israeli anti-terror law that defines the salary payments to terrorists as a criminal offense comes into force on December 31, 2020, and in an attempt to temporarily circumvent the law, the PA is planning to pay terrorists this week before the law takes effect.
According to Maurice Hirsch, Director of Legal Strategies at PMW, under the Anti-Terror Law, any person who carries out a transaction with property that “supports, promotes, funds or rewards” the commission of defined terror crimes, will be subject to a prison sentence of up to seven to 10 years, depending on the nature or severity of the offense for which the property was given.
Hirsch, the former top prosecutor of terrorists in Judea and Samaria, said PMW took the initiative applying the new law to the PA’s payment of monthly salaries to the terrorist prisoners and released terrorists.
He sent a letter to all the banks operating in the PA and warned them that if they did not cease assisting the PA to pay terror rewards to the terrorist prisoners, the banks would potentially face both civil and criminal repercussions, Israeli authorities could seize the terror funds directly from the banks, and the banks’ employees would also face potential criminal proceedings.
According to the independent Palestinian news agency Wattan, the Association of Banks in Palestine responded to PMW’s warning by writing to the PA Minister of Finance saying that “all of the banks hereby ask Your Honor to stop transferring any sums into these accounts. The banks will transfer the balances in these accounts to the Ministry of Finance’s account.”
The PA suddenly found itself without the ability to pay the tens of millions of shekels it pays every month to thousands of imprisoned and released terrorists and their families. The PA has maintained this policy for decades, using hundreds of millions of donor dollars to fund the payments, including those to mass murderers.
To circumvent the Israeli Anti-Terror legislation, the PA decided to establish a new terror bank, the “Independence Bank,” through which it would make all its terror reward payments. That new bank would have no external banking connections and would therefore not be the subject, ostensibly, to international anti-terror financing regulations.
With the law deadline of Dec. 31 and the PA apparently not having completed setting up the new terror bank, the Head of the PA funded Commission of Prisoners’ Affairs, Qadri Abu Bakr, announced on Sunday (Dec. 27) that before the end of the month, the PA intends to pay all the terrorist prisoners salaries for three months – one salary for the month of December 2020, and salary advances for the months of January and February 2021.
“If the Israeli authorities implement the new provision to its full extent, it will be a huge step towards ending the PA’s institutionalized policy of rewarding terror,” Hirsch said.
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