Israeli Legislation Aims To Hit Palestinian Authority For Paying Terrorists Hundreds Of Millions Each Year

On Tuesday, Israel’s Defense Ministry announced a bill which would "deduct welfare payments paid out by the Palestinian Authority to Palestinian prisoners and their families from the tax revenues Israel transfers annually to the PA," reports The Times Of Israel.

The bill mirrors U.S. legislation known as the "Taylor Force Act," which passed the U.S. House of Representatives on December 5. Congress.gov describes the legislation briefly:

[The Taylor Force Act] prohibits certain assistance under the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 from being made available for the West Bank and Gaza unless the Department of State certifies that the Palestinian Authority is taking steps to end acts of violence against U.S. and Israeli citizens perpetrated by individuals under its jurisdictional control, such as the March 2016 attack that killed former Army officer Taylor Force; is publicly condemning such acts of violence and is investigating, or cooperating in investigations of, such acts; and has terminated payments for acts of terrorism against U.S. and Israeli citizens to any individual who has been convicted and imprisoned for such acts, to any individual who died committing such acts, and to family members of such an individual.

The Israeli Defense Ministry claims that in 2017 alone, the Palestinian Authority paid approximately $358 million to terrorists and their families in the form of monthly stipends which are based on the "performance" of the terrorists. A terrorist serving a lengthy prison sentence (two or three decades) can receive a stipend of up to $1,900/month, whereas one serving a lesser sentence (3-5 years) can receive $580/month. Prisoners with families may get more.

According to The Jerusalem Post, the Israeli legislation proposes a yearly meeting at which "the defense minister will bring the Ministerial Committee for National Security a report on how much the PA paid terrorists." At that point, ministers will make the decision on whether or not to withhold the "amount [of money] paid to terrorists from the taxes and tariffs collected by the Israeli government for the PA."

Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee chairman Avi Dichter is skeptical about the idea that ministers might decide against withholding funds, saying it "negates the most significant part of the bill."

The Times of Israel reports that the bill will next be seen by the Knesset’s Ministerial Committee for Legislation.

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