Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday told a delegation of J Street and a few US congressmen that the PA had decided to refuse tax and customs funds collected on its behalf by Israel after the latter announced cutting back the amount paid to terrorist prisoners and the families of killed terrorists.
On Sunday, Israel’s Political-Security Cabinet authorized the implementation of the law to offset the terrorists’ salaries, in response to the murder of the young Israeli woman Ori Ansbacher. The Ministerial Committee on National Security Affairs decided to implement the freeze on funds to the Palestinian Authority, which was passed by the Knesset in July 2018, and to offset half a billion shekels ($138 million) from the money transferred to the Authority.
The funds will be cut starting next month.
PA Prime Minister Dr. Rami Hamdallah’s cabinet on Tuesday issued a denunciation of “the Israeli decision to deduct the allocations of Palestinian prisoners and martyrs’ families,” saying curtailing the tax funds is “a direct violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention and international treaties and the Interim Agreement signed in September 1995 between Israel and the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO). Therefore, this Israeli action is piracy of the Palestinian money and a clear international crime.”
“The welfare we provide to prisoners and martyrs families is a national responsibility and not a gift or a grant. It is an act of solidarity, social protection, and an integral part of the social contract between the State of Palestine and its citizens,” the PA cabinet stressed.
Abbas, for his part, told his American visitors that “if we had only 20 or 30 million shekels in the entire Authority, we would have used them to pay the families of the martyrs.”
Good to know.
The PA chairman was furious when he attacked the Israeli decision at the meeting, saying: “Israel will take away from these funds whatever it wishes? They say that the PA pays money to terrorists – who are these people? Martyrs, prisoners, and the injured. When someone dies we are not willing to give up on his family.”