terror attack female victim

An Israeli court has imposed a lien of 276,000 shekels on the Palestinian Authority in favor of the family of a 2014 terror attack.

By Sveta Listratov, TPS

The 276,000 shekels ($77,000) awarded to the family of Dalya Lemkus by an Israeli court won’t ease the pain from her murder in a 2014 Palestinian terror attack. But the family says the landmark decision is a step in the right direction towards ending the Palestinian Authority’s terror stipends.

“Nothing will bring Dalya back, and our pain won’t go away. But we will continue to fight to the end against the financing of terrorism and the transfer of salaries to the terrorists who murder our children,” Dalya’s sister, Miriam Lemkus told the Tazpit Press Service. “Our family welcomes the decision of the Enforcement Authority that chose to do us justice; this is the only way to defeat terrorism.”

In a landmark ruling on February 18, the Enforcement and Collection Authority approved a 276,000 shekel lien on the Palestinian Authority after it transferred 12,000 shekels ($3,300) to Lemkus’s killer, Maher Hamdi al-Hashalmoun. The authority is responsible for implementing court rulings.

“As it appears from the material submitted to the court and as it has been proven, the Palestinian Authority pays terrorists and their families huge sums every month; probably close to one billion shekels a year,” said the ruling, written by Judge Idit Gur Aryeh.

Hashalmoun killed Lemkus and injured two other people in a stabbing attack at a bus stop at the entrance to Alon Shvut, a community in the Gush Etzyon region south of Jerusalem. Security footage of the November 10, 2014 attack showed Hashalmoun trying to run over the three at the bus stop. When he failed to hit the victims, he emerged from the vehicle with a knife. Dalya was 26.

Hashalmoun, who was affiliated with Palestinian Islamic Jihad, was given two life sentences and ordered to pay 4 million shekels ($1.1 million) to the Lemkus family.

In the nearly ten years since Dalya’s murder, the family discovered legal documents indicating that almost one billion shekels in yearly tax revenue, collected by Israel on behalf of the Palestinian Authority, is directed towards the PA’s stipends for imprisoned terrorists. Israelis refer to monthly disbursements as “pay for slay.”

“We know very well that they receive payment for carrying out acts of terror. When the terrorist carries out an attack he is reassured that everything is good because he knows that his family will be taken care of financially and the Palestinian Authority will take care of their stipends,” Miriam Lemkus told TPS. “It’s time to make sure they don’t get the money. The State of Israel should not cooperate in encouraging terrorism.”

With help from Shurat HaDin, an Israeli non-governmental organization, Lemkus’s parents took enforcement action against the Palestinian Authority, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), and even the Israeli Finance Ministry. The PLO is an umbrella group of Palestinian political organizations headed by Mahmoud Abbas.

Shurat HaDin lawyers and the family documented al-Hashalmoun’s monthly salary despite PA denials of the payments.

‘Pay for Slay’

Itamar Marcus, founder and director of Palestinian Media Watch, told TPS, “It is the PA and Fatah’s presentation of murderers as heroes and role models for Palestinian children that created the population that could commit both the October 7 atrocities and support them.”

“It’s time that the Israeli law is fixed with minimal damages of tens of millions of shekels for terror murder, to be paid by the terrorists and all frameworks that promoted or rewarded the terrorists especially Fatah and the PA.” Marcus asserted. “Without punishing the PA severely for its terror promotion we will face terror for decades.”

The ruling comes as the Palestinian Authority expanded its list of beneficiaries for terror stipends, adding 3,550 Palestinians imprisoned in Israel since the October 7 massacres. PMW also reported that Ramallah will also make payments to more than 20,000 “martyrs,” including terrorists killed fighting Israeli forces in Gaza.

The Palestinian Authority is legally mandated to allocate 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

Israeli officials say the payouts provide incentives for terror and regularly offset an equivalent amount from taxes that Israel collects on behalf of the Palestinian Authority.

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.