Photo Credit: Itzik Edri via Wikimedia
The Knesset plenum

by Yona Schnitzer

The Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee has approved a second and third reading of a law that will allow the government to deduct tax monies Israel collects on behalf of the Palestinian Authority, from payments made to the PA.

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The deductions will be used to offset salaries paid by the Palestinian Authority to the families of terrorists and to the incarcerated terrorists themselves.

After the law passed in its first reading in May, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pushed for it to contain more flexible language, pinning the offsets to a Cabinet vote, rather than deducting the sums automatically. At Wednesday’s committee meeting, Coalition Chairman MK Dudi Amsallem (Likud) proposed the Prime Minister’s revision, but the committee retained the same strict language as was in the first reading.

After the meeting, Amsallem said: “(this law) is aimed at stopping the support and funding of terror by the Palestinian Authority.” “This is a value-based, welcome, important and just law.”

On Tuesday evening, Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home) chairman Naftali Bennett said Netanyahu’s proposed revision would have “empt(ied) the law of substance,” and said the party would oppose the revised text.

“The Palestinian Authority transfers millions of shekels a year to terrorists who killed Israeli civilians and to families of terrorists who were assassinated. This absurdity must end, and that’s exactly what this law says,” he said.

In May, the Defense Ministry said the Palestinian Authority pays over a NIS 1 billion annually as rewards for terror attacks. Recent beneficiaries include Omar Abu Jalal, who was sentenced to four life sentences for stabbing to death three members of the Salomon family in their home in Neve Tzuf last July. Abul Jalal receives NIS 1,400 from the PA every month and has so far accumulated NIS 12,200.

Another convicted murderer, Abed Alhakis Aasi, who stabbed Itamar Ben Gal to death at a junction outside of Ariel in February, also receives a NIS 1,400 from the PA monthly, for his first three years in prison, after which his stipend is set to grow according to the PA pay scale.

Should any prisoner die in an Israeli prison, his family will continue to receive funding.

The amount to be deducted from the PA under the terms of the bill will be transferred to a special fund aimed at aiding Israeli victims of terror and their families.

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