Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced at the Sunday meeting of his cabinet that by this time next week, Israel would be deducting the money that the Palestinian Authority (PA) pays to terrorists from funds Israel pays to the PA.
“By the end of the week, the staff work required for implementing the law on deducting terrorists’ salaries will be completed,” Netanyahu said. “Next Sunday I will convene the security cabinet and we will approve the decision needed to withhold the funds. The funds will be deducted. No one should doubt that.”
His announcement comes in the wake of the horrific murder of 19-year-old Ori Ansbacher in Jerusalem last Thursday. The announcement marks the Prime Minister’s intent to enforce for the first time the Deduction Law which was passed last summer. The Deduction Law requires the Defense Ministry to present the security cabinet with a report on how much the PA paid terrorists in prison or the families of terrorists who were killed, and for the Finance Ministry to deduct that amount from the taxes and tariffs Israel collects for the PA. The decision to delay its enactment was made out of fear that the PA government might become destabilized due to the financial hardship created.
The PA payments, dubbed “pay to slay”, gives monetary stipends to the families of Palestinians killed, injured, or imprisoned as a result of attacks perpetrated against Jews with the higher payments being given for deadlier attacks. Israel transfers over $2.4 billion in tax payments to the PA annually. Haaretz reported that the PA’s budget for 2018 was $5.2 billion of which approximately seven percent, or $360 million, was paid into the Prisoners and Martyrs fund, which disperses payment to imprisoned terrorists, released terrorists and the families of dead terrorists to incentivize the murder of Jews.
The Israeli Deduction Law is similar to the Taylor Force Act which was signed into law by President Trump in March. Initially blocked by the Democrats in Congress, the bill eventually garnered bipartisan support.