Family at the funeral of terror victim Reuven Schmerling in October. (Roy Alima/Flash90) (Roy Alima/Flash90)
Reuven Schmerling

Families of terror victims are urging Netanyahu to punish the PA for its payment of lavish stipends to terrorists and their families.

By: JNS.org and United with Israel Staff

Hundreds of families of terror victims on Sunday urged Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to deduct the salaries that the Palestinian Authority (PA) pays terrorists and their families from PA tax funds collected by Israel.

Under the 1993 Oslo Accords, a mechanism was set up through which Israel collects taxes—value added tax and customs fees—on behalf of the PA to the tune of about $100 million per month. Israel then transfers the money to the PA.

The PA uses a considerable portion of these funds to finance the stipends it pays to terrorists and their families.

Since 1998, the PA has encouraged terrorist attacks against Israel by honoring and supporting Palestinian terrorists serving sentences in Israeli prisons and financially rewarding the families of Palestinians killed while carrying out terror attacks.

According to PA law, the more heinous the act of terror committed, the greater the reward.

On Sunday, some 200 bereaved families sent a letter to Netanyahu, urging him to push through legislation that would deduct hundreds of millions in tax funds transferred to the Palestinians, essentially biting into the payments made to terrorists and their families.

Netanyahu himself has called the payments “an incentive for murder.”

The “terrorist wages bill,” sponsored by Member of Knesset Elazar Stern (Yesh Atid), passed its preliminary Knesset reading in June 2017 and was up for its first reading last November, but the vote was postponed at the request of the Israeli Defense Ministry and Israel’s National Security Council, which sought to further explore its implications.

Stern said at the time that the bill was “critical for Israel’s national security and the war on terror.” The PA’s terror stipend system, he said, “not only incites, it’s an incentive to carry out terrorist attacks. The PA is essentially condoning the murder of Israelis and we have to put an end to it.”

According to Palestinian Media Watch (PMW), the PA’s publicized 2017 budget shows an increase in funding for salaries to terrorist prisoners of 13 percent from NIS 488 million ($135 million) in 2016 to NIS 550 million ($158 million), with payments to families of “martyrs” increasing by 4 percent from NIS 660 million ($183 million) to NIS 687 million ($197 million).

In total, the PA’s direct terror-funding expenditures in 2017 reached NIS 1.237 billion ($355 million).

At the same time, the PA receives massive international aid and exists on the verge of bankruptcy.

In July, PA head Mahmoud Abbas pledged not to stop paying the salaries. “Even if I will have to leave my position, I will not compromise on the salary of a martyr, Shahid, or a prisoner, as I am the president of the entire Palestinian people,” he declared.

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