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Israel to deduct 'terror salaries' from PA tax money

Feb. 4, 2019 3:38 P.M. (Updated: Feb. 6, 2019 11:39 A.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- The Israeli Diplomatic-Security 'Cabinet' is expected to approve a major cut to the tax revenues Israel collects on behalf of the Palestinian Authority (PA), with the amount the PA pays as stipends to the families of Palestinians killed or imprisoned by Israel be deducted from the money Israel hands over to the PA, within two weeks.

Israel Hayom news site reported that the Israeli Ministry of Defense has been assiduously collecting figures to determine the exact amount the PA pays out in "terror salaries," for some weeks.

The Israeli Ministry of Finance will reportedly carry out the deduction after a report on the "salaries" is presented.

The reduction will be enacted under a law passed this past summer by Israeli members of the Knesset, Elazar Stern (Yesh Atid) and Avi Dichter (Likud), which requires the Defense Ministry to provide the cabinet with data on the amount the PA pays terrorists and their families. The Finance Ministry will then withhold that amount from the tax funds.

"Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said in closed-door talks that the deduction will go ahead, although he expressed concern that the reduced tax funds would hurt the stability of the PA; he also said he would look for a way to carry out the demands of the law while ensuring that the PA remains stable."

Dichter, who serves as chairman of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, said in response to recent reports on the amount the PA pays in stipends to families of killed or imprisoned Palestinians that "every shekel the Palestinian Authority pays to terrorists will be deducted [from the tax funds.] That is how we create deterrence against terrorism."

Israel Hayom recently reported that in 2018, the PA paid out 502 million shekels ($138 million) to families of Palestinians; a probe by the Palestinian Media Watch group showed that at least 230 million shekels ($63 million) had been paid to terrorists currently in prison.

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