Benny Gantz
Benny Gantzצילום: יונתן זינדל, פלאש 90

Is the Israeli government financing terrorism against its own citizens? Did Defense Minister Benny Gantz break the law when transferring "advance payments" and "loans" to the Palestinian Authority earlier this year?

These were some questions posed to the Ministries of Defense and Finance by the Litigation Department of the Kohelet Policy Forum two months ago, who just received a worrying response.

According to Israeli law, any payments made by Israel to the Palestinian Authority must deduct the amount that the PA paid in the previous year to terrorists or their families.

These payments, known colloquially as “Pay For Slay” are fixed pensions paid by the Palestinian Authority to terrorists, including Israeli citizens, as direct compensation for the murder of Jews. The amount of the payment is determined by the number of people killed in the attack and the severity of the terrorist's sentence.

A murderer (or his family) can receive a sum that equals five times the average salary in the Palestinian Authority.

After months of silence, the Ministry of Finance just sent a cryptic response stating that “it had made a deduction in accordance with the law”.

However, it did not explain how the “advance payments” and “loans” conform to the law and offered no legal source that could justify them.

“As Israel faces another wave of terror, it is preposterous to see our own government appearing to skirt Israeli law to send hush money to the Palestinian Authority. We call upon the government to explain how Gantz could transfer funds to the Palestinians, while they continue Pay for Slay.” Said Ariel Erlich, Director of the Litigation Department at the Jerusalem-based Kohelet Policy Forum

“One of Israel’s greatest diplomatic achievements was the United States passing of the Taylor Force Act, which bans US money from going to the Palestinian Authority while they maintain Pay for Slay. When Israel breaks its own law to the same effect, it undermines this pillar of American support for Israel.” Added Professor Eugene Kontorovich, Director of the International Law Department at the Jerusalem-based Kohelet Policy Forum.