Abbas is set to refuse $2.2 billion in tax transfers from Israel in 2019 in response to Israel’s deduction of $139.5 million that the Palestinian Authority planned to used to reward terrorists.
Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas announced that his regime will refuse all tax revenues Israel transfers to the PA if Israel deducts the amount the PA uses to reward terrorists.
The announcement arrived after the Israeli Cabinet announced Sunday that Israel will deduct $139,638,000 this year from tax funds that would otherwise be transferred to the PA.
According to Palestinian Media Watch (PMW), “This sum does not include the PA’s financial rewards to families of dead terrorists, the so-called ‘martyrs,’ or to wounded terrorists. The deduction will be made in 12 monthly portions of approx. $11,636,500 million/month – almost 42 million shekels/month.”
Earlier this month, Abbas declared that if Israel follows through with the announced deductions, he will refuse to accept the remainder of the transfers, which are funds the Palestinian population desperately needs to keep their economy viable, PMW reported based on statements in Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, the official PA daily.
Terrorism More Important than Prosperity
In reference to this development, PMW concluded, “[This move] conclusively confirm[s] that Abbas and the PA prioritize rewarding terrorists and murderers rather than the best interests of the entire Palestinian population. Instead of accepting that Israel refuses to transfer $11.6 million/month for terror rewards, Abbas prefers to punish the entire Palestinian population by refusing $174.5 million of tax money, which would benefit all Palestinians.”
With taxes collected by Israel accounting for approximately 50 percent of the PA’s operational budget, refusing the remainder of this sum after terrorist salaries are deducted demonstrates that Abbas is content depriving his people of basic needs.
According to PMW, “Abbas intends to try and use the tactic of impoverishing the Palestinian population to put pressure on Israel to transfer to him the money he uses for terror. Secondly, he may hope that the international community will pressure Israel to ignore its own laws. Thirdly, he may expect the international community to again subsidize the PA. Alongside the financial leverage Abbas hopes to gain, it is also possible that he is going to use the deduction, and the ensuing self-made crisis, to spark yet another wave of terror.”
Israel’s deductions are required by a law passed last year mandating a freeze on payments to the PA if it refuses to end its “pay for slay” policy.
In response to the law, Abbas declared on official PA TV in October, “From 1965 until now, this matter is sacred to us. The martyrs and their families are sacred, [and so are] the wounded and the prisoners. We must pay all of them. If one penny remains in our hands it is for them and not for the living.”