Defense Minister Naftali Bennett on Wednesday authorized the seizure of hundreds of thousands of shekels’ worth of funds paid to jailed terrorists and their families, in a precedent-setting administrative order.
Bennett, who earlier this month declared he would tighten the use of economic sanctions against terrorists, ordered that salaries paid by the Palestinian Authority to eight terrorists responsible for attacks on Israel, as well as to their families, would be confiscated.
Of the eight terrorists cited in the order, five have received life sentences for the terror attacks they committed.
All eight of the terrorists cited in the order are Israeli-Arabs.
For years, the Palestinian Authority has paid out salaries to terrorists jailed in Israel, as well as to the families of jailed terrorists, and to the families of terrorists killed during attacks on Israelis.
This policy, which Israeli leaders have denounced as “pay to slay”, led to the passage of an Israeli law under which Israel deducts the amount of money paid to terrorists and their families from the tax transfers to the Palestinian Authority every month. Israel collects taxes from Palestinian Authority residents working in Israel on the PA’s behalf.
The Defense Minister’s order Wednesday is the first step by Israel to directly target the recipients of the salaries, and is aimed at removing the financial incentive provided by the Palestinian Authority for potential terrorists to attack Israelis.
According to the Defense Ministry, additional orders targeting terrorist salaries will be signed.
“We’ve started taking action,” said Bennett. “This is another step in the war against terrorists; we are working to make sure that it doesn’t pay [to spill] Jewish blood.”
Wednesday’s order is the second time Bennett has introduced new anti-terror economic sanctions this month, following an order targeting the assets of 47-year-old Hamas terrorist Mohammed Jamil Mahmoud Hersh, who has worked as a Hamas operative in London.
The eight terrorists targeted by Wednesday’s seizure order include:
1. Mufak Naif Hassan Ayrok, who directed two suicide bombers and aided them in reaching the Tel Aviv central bus station, where they killed 23 people and injured more than 100 in a January 2003 attack. He received a 30-year prison sentence for his role in the attack.
2. Ibrahim Muhammed Ibrahim Bakhri, who aided a Hamas suicide bomber in the August 2002 in an attack at Meron Junction which killed nine and injured 38. He was given nine life sentences.
3.Yassin Hassan Salah Bakhri, who also aided in the August 2002 Meron Junction bombing, also was given nine life sentences.
4. Hakhmat Faheen Mustafa Namana, who was convicted of conspiracy to commit a crime, inspiring and aiding in an illegal organization, forbidden use of resources to aid and encourage terrorism, and incitement.
5. Muhammad Tawafiq Saliman Yusef Jabarin, one of the four Israeli Arab terrorists convicted of murdering three Israeli soldiers with knives and a pitchfork, in what would later be dubbed the “Night of the Pitchforks” attack of February 1992.
6. Walid Namer Assad Dakeh, who is serving a life sentence for his role in the murder and mutilation of IDF solder Moshe Tamam in August, 1984.
7. Samir Salah Taha Sarsui, the leader of an Israeli-Arab terror cell which carried out a string terror attacks. He is currently serving a life sentence.
8. Mujhad Mahmud Yousef Duquan, who is serving a 15-year sentence for aid he provided to terrorists who plotted an attack in Jerusalem.