If the Palestinian Authority (PA) is going to use so much of the money it is provided to encourage terrorist violence–and thus perpetuate, rather than bring an end to the conflict–why should Israel be obliged to accommodate it?
That was the message delivered by Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich on Thursday, as he announced plans to withhold even more of the tax revenues Israel routinely passed on to the Palestinian regime.
“The PA finances terrorists and the State of Israel is saying ‘Enough.’ Israeli citizens will not be a part of this farce,” stressed Smotrich.
Israel’s Security Cabinet initially agreed to a proposal to withhold tax revenues equal to the amount the Palestinian Authority paid to the families of deceased terrorists or those sitting in Israeli jails as part of its “pay for slay” scheme.
Smotrich’s new order has effectively doubled that sum. Israel will now withhold twice the amount that the Palestinian regime pays to encourage terrorist violence against Jews.
He explained that so far Israel’s new government had withheld 100 million shekels ($29 million) in Palestinian tax revenues, with much of that being passed on to the Israeli victims of Palestinian terrorism.
The PA pays monthly stipends to Palestinians and/or their families for carrying out terrorist attacks against Israel. In 2021, the PA paid out an estimated 512 million shekels ($157 million) as part of this policy.
Israel sees this as a primarily obstacle to a final status peace agreement, since it encourages a new generation of Palestinian Arabs to continue seeing Israeli Jews as legitimate targets of violence.
Palestinian leaders say Israel’s new punitive measures will cause the collapse of the Palestinian Authority, to which Smotrich and others in the government have responded: “So what?”
If the Palestinian Authority is not going to fulfill its primary obligation to curb anti-Israel violence and educate its population for peaceful coexistence with the Jewish state, then what purpose does it really serve?
Israel Today Membership
Save 18% Per Month.
Six Months Membership
Save 9% Per Month.