Palestinian Authority Defies the World, Continues Terror Reward Payments
by Maurice Hirsch
While the Palestinian Authority (PA) continues to hide its finances from the international community, a recent statement by PA Prime Minister Muhammad Shtayyeh again demonstrates the clear effectiveness of Israel’s Anti-Pay-for-Slay law, and the pressure being put on the PA by the international community.
The PA government recently approved its 2023 budget. Presenting the budget to the cabinet, Shtayyeh explained that the budget included a deficit of $610 million. While acknowledging that the PA’s terror reward payments are causing financial damage to the PA, Shtayyeh clarified that the PA has no intention to abolish the payments:
Shtayyeh: “The Israeli monetary deductions and the decrease in the number of donors are meant to pressure us and subdue us, but everyone knows that we will not trade in policy for money, and what is important is that we rely on each other and understand the reality we live in.” [emphasis added]
[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, April 4, 2023]
“The Israeli monetary deductions” Shtayyeh complained about, refer to deductions made pursuant to Israel’s Anti-Pay-for-Slay law. The law, passed in 2018 with the assistance of Palestinian Media Watch (PMW), provides that Israel must deduct from the taxes it collects and transfers to the PA, the sum the PA spent in the previous year paying salaries to imprisoned and released terrorists, and allowances to the wounded terrorists and the families of dead terrorists. These payments are cumulatively known as the PA’s “Pay-for-Slay” policy.
Since the law was first implemented in February 2019, Israel has made decisions to deduct 2,479,478,454 shekels — a sum equivalent to the PA’s Pay-for-Slay payments in 2018 through 2022. At of the end of March 2023, Israel had actually deducted 2,014,058,985 shekels, and the remainder will be deducted during the rest of 2023.
According to the Israeli law, the sums deducted are frozen and held till such a time when the PA abolishes its policy.
PMW’s advocacy also helped contribute to the decrease in the donor aid to the PA. According to PA financial reports, during the decade between 2011 and 2021, foreign aid to the PA plummeted by 90%.
In the US, the 2018 Taylor Force Act conditioned the bulk of US aid to the PA on the abolition of the policy. In 2019, after presentations by PMW’s director Itamar Marcus, both the Dutch and Australian governments announced that they will no longer provide aid to the PA.
While Shtayyeh complains about the PA’s financial deficit, he refuses to accept reality. The reality is that the international community, on the whole, rejects the PA’s Pay-for-Slay policy, which is rightly categorized as terror incentivizing and rewarding.
The reality is that the measures adopted by the international community, including Israel, are not designed to harm the Palestinian people, but rather to pressure the Palestinian leadership to abolish the financial payments the PA pays to terrorists. But none of this reality interests the PA. As Shtayyeh made crystal clear, following the lead of PA leader Mahmoud Abbas, for the PA incentivizing, promoting and rewarding terror — i.e., sending Palestinians to murder Israelis — is more important than achieving peace and prosperity.
The cumulative financial pressure being placed on the PA is critical. As the PA deficit grows, the international community must stand steadfast in its clear and unequivocal moral stance: Stop Pay-for-Slay!
Maurice Hirsch, Adv. is the Head of Legal Strategies for Palestinian Media Watch, where a version of this article first appeared.