Israeli lawmakers overwhelmingly approved legislation late on Monday that withholds tax transfers to the Palestinian Authority to offset salaries paid by Ramallah to terrorists or their families.
The bill, which passed 87-15, aims at putting to an end Palestinian Authority practices dubbed “pay to slay,” which provide salaries to Palestinian and Israeli Arabs who attack Jews, with varying amounts given according to crime and sentence, as well as additional funds given to Israeli Arabs.
“The PA turned itself into a factory that employs murderers [of] Jews mostly but also Muslims, Christians, Druze, Circassians and others, including tourists,” said Knesset member Avi Dichter of the Likud Party, who was one of the bill’s co-sponsors.
Each year, Israel transfers NIS 8.5 billion (more than $2.4 billion) in tax payments. The P.A. budget this year is NIS 18.5 billion ($5.2 billion). The PA has dedicated a significant portion of its budget to directly incentivize the murder of Jews through stipends to terrorists and their families.
In its 2018 budget, the PA allocated $360 million for the Prisoners and Martyrs fund, which disperses payment to imprisoned terrorists, released terrorists and the families of dead terrorists.
Another co-sponsor, Yesh Atid Knesset member Elazar Stern, said the US passage of the Taylor Force Act earlier this year inspired Israel to act.
“We must stop the economic inventive the Palestinian Authority provides to terrorists, an incentive that encourages others to commit terror,” said Stern. “Every Palestinian youth will understand it doesn’t pay to choose the path of terror.”
On March 23, the Taylor Force Act passed in both houses of Congress, ending American aid to the PA until it definitively proves that has stopped paying stipends to terrorists and their families. Taylor Force, a West Point graduate and army veteran, was in Israel on a Vanderbilt University graduate program for global entrepreneurship in 2016 when he was stabbed to death by a terrorist. Taylor’s father, Stuart Force, was on-hand for the vote in the Knesset.
Matan Peleg, CEO of Im Tirtzu, whose organization has been accompanying the “Choosing Life Forum” of bereaved families, praised the passing of the law.
“Rather than investing money in an industry of murder and blood, the Palestinian Authority will now need to invest in infrastructure and development,” said Peleg. “This law is also an important correction for the State of Israel, as it is inconceivable that a civilized society would fund terrorism against its own people and would pay the salaries of those who murdered its citizens.”
“Im Tirtzu, together with the bereaved families, will continue to promote a strong deterrence package against terrorists and their accomplices,” he concluded.