Tel Aviv Court Rules That Israel Can Seize PA ‘Pay‐for‐Slay’ Stipends
JNS.org – Israel’s Tel Aviv District Court handed down an unprecedented ruling Sunday, saying that the state had the right to seize funds the Palestinian Authority is paying terrorists jailed in Israel.
The court’s ruling followed a petition by the relatives of Mansur Omar, convicted of aiding and abetting a 2005 terrorist attack in which six Israelis were killed, to prevent the state from seizing his PA-provided funds.
Israel’s Counterterrorism Law of 2016 lists provisions according to which the Defense Ministry can seize “pay‐for‐slay” stipends ‐‐ funds Ramallah pays jailed terrorists and the families of terrorists killed while committing attacks against Israel. The Palestinian Authority’s “pay‐for‐slay” policy has been widely condemned by Israel and the United States.
Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas has refused to retire the policy, declaring the PA will continue to pay terrorists’ salaries “even if it has to spend its last penny to do so.”
Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz lauded the ruling, saying that he plans to “move forward with a variety of moves through the National Bureau for Counter Terror Financing [within the Defense Ministry] to block the transfer of funds to terrorists and terrorist organizations.”
Omar’s lawyer protested before the court that the motion to seize the funds was based on classified intelligence to which he was not privy, leaving him “unable to properly refute any claims” against his client.
The judge presiding over the hearing was briefed on the information in chambers. The ruling noted the evidence presented to the court was “compelling,” making the forfeiture of the funds warranted.
Still, Gantz has decided to suspend the order seeking to seize terrorist funds held by Palestinian banks.