Will Israeli government sabotage its own anti-terror law?

Representative of families of terror victims tells Arutz Sheva gov't meddling with bill to punish PA for funding of terrorists.

Hezki Baruch ,

Meir Indor
Meir Indor
Flash 90

A bill aimed at punishing the Palestinian Authority for its funding of terrorists and their families seemed poised to pass the Knesset recently, after it was approved by the legislature’s powerful Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.

The proposal, if passed, would require the government to deduct the amount of money paid by the PA to terrorists or their families from the monthly tax transfers by Israel to the PA. Tens of thousands of PA residents work in Israeli towns and cities, and the Israeli government collects income tax from these workers on the PA’s behalf, transferring the money each month.

The PA’s policy of spending hundreds of millions of dollars each year on stipends for jailed terrorists and the families of terrorists killed during terror attacks drew criticism from both the US and Israel, both of which pursued legislation to punish the PA.

In 2017, Congress passed the Taylor Force Act, named after an American student murdered in a terror attack while visiting Tel Aviv. The bill, which was signed into law by President Trump this March, will freeze future US aid money to the PA, and condition the resumption of funding on the PA’s termination of its policy of funding terrorists.

The Israeli bill, which would merely deduct the amount of money spent by the PA on terrorist stipends from the monthly tax transfers, has been sent back to committee for revision at the request of coalition chairman David Amsalem (Likud).

Meir Indor, chief of the Almagor organization, which represents families of Israeli victims of terrorism, warned that the interference by the coalition government in the passage of the bill was cause for concern.

"A week ago, we had a very important decision in the committee of Defense in the parliament, that every penny - every dollar - which goes to terrorists or their families, will be reduced from the money the Israeli government is passing on to the Palestinian Authority,” Indor told Arutz Sheva.

“It was an important message: 'Stop supporting terrorists'. The same law was passed in the United States by both houses [of Congress],” continued Indor, referring to the Taylor Force Act.

"Suddenly we hear this week that the government is asking to renew the discussion...about that law, going back to that committee and restarting negotiations."

"They [the government coalition leaders] want to control the law. They want the law to be in their hands."

Indor is concerned the government could pressure the committee to revise the bill, giving the government discretion on what funds to deduct from tax transfers to the PA, rather than leaving the law with a broad, binding requirement to deduct the full amount of money given to terrorists.

If given discretionary powers, Indor continued, the government would come under heavy pressure from foreign powers not to deduct money even if the PA’s program of giving stipends to terrorists continues. Only a binding requirement from the Knesset on the government would make the law effective.

"We are saying that it’s very important that the message will come from the parliament."

"They will have an excuse: 'Well, the Israeli parliament decided.'"