Photo Credit: Ariel Hermoni / Defense Ministry
Defense Minister Naftali Bennett with IAF officers, December 3, 2019

According to a report on Kan 11 News Tuesday night, Israel has stopped offsetting the terrorists’ salaries from the tax money it collects for the Palestinian Authority. In defiance of the law, co-sponsored in June 2018 by Likud MK and former head of the Shin Bet Avi Dichter, in the last three months—and then some—Israel has not set aside any amount from the hundreds of millions of shekels that the PA has paid to terrorists behind bars and to dead terrorists’ families.

On Wednesday morning, the PA Chairman of the Detainees and Ex-Detainees Affairs Commission, Retired Major General Qadri Abu Bakr, confirmed to Reshet Bet radio that the PA had indeed received from Israel the full tax money collected on its behalf in March and April this year, without offsetting the funds the PA pays to jailed terrorists and the families of the “martyrs.” Abu Bakr added that it’s still unclear whether Israel would transfer the full funds collected in May.

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Needless to say, MK Dichter was outraged and stated that “the law is not a recommendation – neither to the prime minister nor anyone else,” and warned that “the message from this decision is bad.”

According to the law, the Defense Ministry compiles a report each year on the funds that the Palestinian Authority has paid out as terrorist salaries, and each month the following year the government deducts one twelfth of this amount from the PA tax revenues. The withheld funds are designated to go to victims of terror, which includes compensation to farmers whose fields were burned as a result of the kite terror (remember when that was the issue that worried us?).

But the transfer of funds, with disregard to the new law which compels the Israeli government to deduct the millions of shekels the PA pays terrorists with Jewish blood on their hands, may not have been a matter of policy but rather the result of the electoral crisis Israel endured throughout 2019 and the beginning of 2020.

According to the Kan 11 report Tuesday, the offsetting of the blood money from the good money is done at the end of each year, so that the funds the PA paid to terrorists in 2018, when Avigdor Liberman was Defense Minister, were recorded and taken out of the PA’s tax revenue funds. But under DM Benjamin Netanyahu and then DM Naftali Bennett this was not done for the year 2019, because there was no new budget process in 2019, when Israel was being governed by a string of temporary, caretaker governments.

But after all is said and done, according to Kan 11, the culprit was DM Naftali Bennett, now a member of the opposition in the Knesset, who failed to submit a report on the PA salaries at the beginning of 2020. Just thought you should know.

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