Figures obtained by Israeli NGO Palestinian Media Watch following a Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) request to the Israeli Finance Ministry prove that even after Israel deducted from its tax transfers to the Palestinian Authority the amount that it spends on salaries to terrorist prisoners, the P.A. still would have received more money in the first two months of 2019 than it received on average per month in 2018.
Tax revenues in the first two months of 2019 increased by a total of NIS 109 million ($30.2 million), while the amount of the deduction was only NIS 42 million ($11.6 million)—a positive difference in favor of the P.A. of NIS 67 million ($18.5 million).
In January 2019, before Israel’s decision to make the deduction, the taxes collected for the P.A. amounted to more than NIS 743 million ($205.5 million), and in February to more than NIS 728 million ($201.4 million).
“In 2018, tax revenues amounted to an average of NIS 670 million [$185.3 million] per month,” said Maurice Hirsch, head of legal strategies at PMW. “So even after deducting the NIS 42 million, the tax revenues in February 2019 totaled more than NIS 686 million [$190 million], NIS 16 million [$4.4 million] more than the monthly average in 2018.”
“It is now being argued,” said Hirsch, “that the P.A. is in danger of economic collapse only because of Israel’s implementation of the law to deduct from the tax revenues. This claim is baseless. The P.A.’s financial crisis is not the result of the deduction of the funds by the Israeli government. The financial crisis is a direct result of the decision of the P.A. to insist not only to continue to encourage terror and reward terrorists, but also to demand that the State of Israel be a partner to this pugnacious policy and allow the P.A. to make the payments out of the tax revenues that Israel collects and transfers to it.”