Palestinian Leaders Slam Proposed Israeli Bill Cutting PA Tax Revenues over ‘Martyrs’ Compensation

The Israeli Knesset. (Photo: File)

An Israeli bill that would deduct 1 billion shekels ($273,847,120) from tax revenues transferred from Israel to the Palestinian Authority (PA) over the controversial “martyrs” compensation program was introduced to the Knesset last month, sparking condemnation among Palestinian leaders.

Several Palestinian leaders spoke to Ma’an on Tuesday concerning the controversial bill making its way through the Knesset. The bill targets a social program managed by the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) that provides financial allowances to Palestinians imprisoned in Israel and their families, those injured by Israeli forces, and families of Palestinian “martyrs” — those killed by Israeli forces, whether amid attacks against Israelis or in situations void of wrongdoing.

According to Israeli media outlet The Times of Israel, the legislation was introduced by Elazar Stern, from the Yesh Atid party, and will be discussed by Knesset members in mid-May.

“The funds transferred to terrorists are not just part of the larger issue of incitement but they encourage Arabs to carry out terror attacks,” Stern reportedly said. “It’s a real incentive to murder Jews, and we must stop this insanity immediately.”

Hassan Abed Rabu, spokesperson for the Palestinian Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs, told Ma’an that all Palestinian prisoners and martyrs had the right to receive allowances, adding that there was no article in the Oslo peace agreements that prohibits the Palestinian government from providing financial support to families of Palestinians imprisoned or killed by Israel.

Meanwhile, Ahmad Tibi, a member of the Israeli Knesset in the Joint List political bloc — representing parties led by Palestinian citizens of Israel, told Ma’an that the bill was part of a campaign that Israel is launching against Palestinian prisoners, while attempting to exert pressure on the PA’s already shaky financial status.
He added that these Israeli policies are what have forced Palestinians to organize a mass open hunger strike this month across prisons in Israel.

In Palestinian society, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) is responsible for providing financial assistance to families of those slain, injured, or imprisoned by Israeli forces. In 2016, this included 112 Palestinians who were killed by Israeli forces and nearly 4,000 Palestinians wounded by Israeli forces mostly during clashes, according to UN documentation.

In addition, Israeli authorities currently hold 6,500 Palestinians in Israeli prisons, according to prisoners’ rights group Addameer, including 536 without charge or trial. The group has reported that 40 percent of the Palestinian male population has at some point been detained by Israeli forces.

(Ma’an, PC, Social Media)

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