Israel’s Defence Minister to freeze NIS 150 million in Pay-For-Slay funds

December 30, 2019 by Arye Green -TPS
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Defence Minister Naftali Bennett yesterday approved freezing NIS 150 million (A$62m) of taxes and tariffs Israel collects for the Palestinian Authority (PA), in response to the payments it makes to terrorists and their families, dubbed “pay-for-slay.”

Naftali Bennett Photo by Hillel Maeir/TPS on 2 January, 2017

The security cabinet will decide whether to approve the decision.

The Israeli government has already approved the freezing of NIS 500 million from funds it collects for the PA, in response to payments it makes to convicted terrorists in Israeli prisons, released prisoners and their families.

The additional NIS 150 million is targeted specifically at PA funds given to the families of terrorists who were killed or injured during acts of terrorism against Israelis.

If the move is approved, the Israeli government is set to freeze a total of NIS 650 million from the funds it collected for the PA in 2018, in response to the stipends it pays terrorists and their families.

According to the 2018 “Deduction Law”, the defence minister is required to present information to the security cabinet regarding the funds paid by the PA to terrorists and their families at the end of each year. The Finance Ministry must then deduct 1/12 of that sum from the taxes and tariffs Israel collects for the PA every month.

The law will be implemented for the second time in 2020.

In 2019 the report included NIS 500 million, causing the government to deduct NIS 42 million each month.

If the cabinet approves the NIS 150 million addition, the government is expected to deduct a total of 650 million, amounting to approximately NIS 54 million from the monthly payments in 2020.

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.

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

Based on Mandelblit’s position, Palestinian Media Watch, an Israeli watchdog, said on Tuesday that the Israeli government should collect taxes on the PA funds paid to Israeli-Arab terrorists and their families, which amount to millions of shekels every year.

Last week, Bennett signed an order to confiscate the monthly stipends paid by the Palestinian Authority (PA) to eight convicted terrorists with Israeli citizenship and their families.

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