Photo Credit: Boomerang

The Israeli government should tax the stipends that the Palestinian Authority (PA) pays to incarcerated Arab-Israelis terrorists, Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) says.

The PA has a policy of paying the families of convicted terrorists imprisoned in Israel, including Arabs with Israeli citizenship. The payments have been criticized as a financial incentive to commit terrorist attacks against Israelis.

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Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit submitted a position paper to the National Labor Court (NLC) two weeks in which he said the court should view payments from the PA to terrorists’ families as income.

Based on Mandelblit’s position which designated the payments as income, PMW said the Israeli government should collect taxes on the PA funds paid to Israeli-Arab terrorists and their families.

“Given this position, there is no reason in the world for the Israeli law enforcement agencies not to act to collect the full taxes that were not paid by the terrorists for their income.” PMW wrote.

PMW estimates the lost tax revenue to be worth millions of shekels every year.

The PA has been paying monthly salaries to convicted terrorists imprisoned in Israel since its establishment. The payments are made to the terrorists after being imprisoned for their participation in terror activity.

According to the PA’s pay scale, the salary of an imprisoned terrorist begins at NIS 1,400 ($401) every month from his first day in prison, and gradually rises to NIS 12,000 ($3,435), in accordance with the amount of time he has been in prison. Therefore, the more severe the attack was, the higher the stipend the terrorist is set to receive.

Terrorist prisoners who are married, have children or are Israeli citizens or residents of eastern Jerusalem receive a special addition to the base salary.

In 2018, the PA paid NIS 502 million ($143.7 million) to imprisoned and released terrorists.

The PA pays terrorists through the Palestine National Fund (PNF), the PLO’s financial arm. In 2017, then-Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman declared the PNF a terror organization.

Given the PNF’s designation as a terror organization, the PMW says that “by the very act of receiving the salaries from the PNF the terrorists committed new crimes which on the one hand justifies putting them on trial, and on the other hand justifies a seizure and confiscation of all the money whose source is the PNF.”

“It appears that the Israeli authorities are beginning to understand and internalize the significance of the payments that the PA is making to the imprisoned terrorists… This understanding must be translated into concrete actions that will not only prevent them from receiving additional social welfare payments from Israel, but also into initiatives to enforce the law against the terrorists based both on the tax laws and based on the anti-terror law. Only determined and uncompromising enforcement can contribute to making the murderers realize that terrorist activities don’t pay,” PMW concluded.

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