The Security Cabinet voted to withhold more than half a billion shekels from the Palestinian Authority on Sunday to make up for money the Palestinian Authority paid terrorists and their families last year.
The 600 million shekels ($176 million) the government voted to freeze will come from tax money that Israel collects on behalf of the Palestinian Authority.
According to Kan news, 600 million shekels will be deducted in monthly installments over the next year.
In 2018, Israel passed a law requiring the government to withhold the equivalent amount the Palestinian Authority estimated to pay Palestinian terrorists and their families. Although this is required by law, the cabinet must periodically vote to approve the move.
Despite its popularity with Israelis, who oppose the PA’s so-called “pay-to-kill” system, which incentivizes terrorism, it is believed that this law could destabilize the perennially cash-strapped Palestinian Authority. Israel offered in the past loans to Palestinians In order to keep the Palestinian Authority afloat and prevent its complete collapse.
Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz of the dovish Meretz party abstained from the vote on Sunday, according to Kan, which cited sources as saying he opposes the measure.
Israel has long accused the Palestinian Authority of encouraging terrorism and military activity by publicly honoring attackers and paying their families salaries if they are killed or imprisoned in Israeli prisons.
Labor Party chairwoman Merav Michaeli reportedly told the cabinet that the PA was ready to stop these payments, which are very popular not only in Israel, but also in the United States and Europe, which they view as an incentive to terrorism.
“I know the Palestinian Authority is prepared to stop payments to terrorists and their families, so that we can stop these compensatory measures,” Michaeli said, according to an unsourced Channel 13 report.
Alternate Prime Minister Naftali Bennett responded by replying: “If they want to stop the payments, they should stop. There is nothing to talk about.”
Michaeli insisted they were ready, but such a move by the Palestinian Authority was contingent on peace talks.
“I know they are ready. We need to have diplomatic talks with them, and that will be part of it.
The cabinet’s decision immediately drew criticism from Palestinian officials, calling it a “financial blockade” on the Palestinian economy. Similarly, Palestinian Authority officials have criticized this Israeli policy in the past.
The occupation government continues its financial piracy on the funds of the Palestinians and has decided to deduct hundreds of millions of shekels to consolidate the policy of the financial siege and steal our money, in a step that adds to the daily escalation in our cities and villages.
Last week, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas He called armed Palestinian fathers Those who were martyred in an exchange of fire with Israeli forces in the West Bank, expressed his condolences.
Israel’s Channel 12 said the phone call was seen by the widely unpopular Abbas as an opportunity to make some internal political gains – hence the filmed and posted on Palestinian social media.
However, the current Israeli government has taken steps to ensure close coordination with the Palestinian Authority.
At a meeting in Ramallah earlier this month, Defense Minister Benny Gantz and Abbas Discuss issues related to security coordination.
A day later, President Isaac Herzog and Prime Minister Yair Lapid He made phone calls to AbbasIt is believed to be the first direct contact between an Israeli prime minister and the president of the Palestinian Authority in five years.
“Coffee trailblazer. Certified pop culture lover. Infuriatingly humble gamer.”