(Israel Hayom/Exclusive to JNS) 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. In 2016, for example, these payments amounted to $334 million, or 7 percent of the PA’s total budget for salaries and about 20 percent of the foreign aid it received.
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.
The so-called “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.”