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Ministers block $138 million to Palestinians over terror payments

Following the horrific murder and rape of an Israeli teen two weeks ago by a Palestinian, Israel’s security cabinet finally implemented a law that calls for deducting over half a billion shekels in funds to the Palestinian Authority over its payments to terrorists and their families.

The law was passed last year, but not implemented as security officials feared it could destabilize the already tenuous situation in the West Bank and Gaza. But the murder of 19-year-old Ori Ansbacher pushed the cabinet to reconsider.  

“It can’t be that the families of terrorists who murdered Jews in cold blood, enjoy a stipend or wage for those acts of terror,” Economy and Industry Minister Eli Cohen said. “Today, in the cabinet, we stopped that absurdity.”

As Israelis bury their dead, the PLO pays terrorists and their families. photo credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI/ MAARIV

The law calls on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to withhold $138 million in Palestinian Authority tax revenues, the amount Israeli officials estimate the PA paid to terrorists and their families in 2018. 

Israel collects around $127 million a month in taxes on goods that come through Israeli ports destined for Palestinian markets, and then transfers the money to the PA. 

“Israel is robbing the Palestinian people of money that belongs to it, and that is completely unacceptable,” Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s office said in a statement. Of course, all Mr. Abbas needs to do is stop the payments to terrorists and their families. The Trump administration has already cut over $200,000,000 dollars in aid to the Palestinians over this issue. This rewarding of terror, is going to crush their economy. 

Israeli security officials have argued that further cuts to the PA budget could hurt security cooperation and destabilize the West Bank and Gaza. They warned that the PA would likely continue paying terrorists’ families while instead cut funding elsewhere.

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