Israel Withholds $180 Million From PA — Why Not More?

Though the Biden Administration has been pledging large sums of money to the PA, despite the PA’s continuation of its “Pay-For-Slay” plan – giving large subsidies to terrorists and their families, both to reward past, and to incentivize future, terrorists – Israel at least is not going to contribute to that farce. The Bidenites may think they can get away with ignoring the Taylor Force Act, passed by Congress in 2018, which forbids any American aid from going to the PA as long as it continues with the “Pay-For-Slay” program, but Israel remains true to both the spirit and the letter of Taylor Force. The latest news is here.

Israel will withhold $180 million in tax revenue it collected in 2020 on behalf of the Palestinian Authority, or about 7% of the PA’s total tax revenue, to offset stipends paid to terrorists and their families, the government said on Sunday. The decision – which would be carried out in monthly deductions – was taken after Defense Minister Benny Gantz presented the minister with a report on the scope of funding provided by the PA to terrorists and their families.

The measure is based on a 2018 law under which Israel can deduct tax revenues it collects on behalf of the PA after reviewing the amount it funnels to terrorists in Israeli jails and those who have been released, as well as to their families.

Since 2020, Israel has begun implementing this law, in part because the Palestinian Authority refused to accept the funds with strings attached to them. But despite various assessments that this would lead to a budgetary crisis in the PA, this has yet to materialize….

Why did Israel wait two years to implement the 2018 law?

As for the PA’s claims that such withholding would lead to a budgetary crisis in the PA, the PA is always poor-mouthing, whenever it can; to hear its spokesmen talk, it is always on the brink of financial disaster, yet it always manages to find enough Arab and Western donors who come up with the money it claims to need, and for some reason none of these donors think to question the vast sums that the PA leaders, with Mahmoud Abbas leading all the rest of his thieving crew with his $400 million nest egg, have managed to steal from the aid meant for the general population. No one asks them to pay back the sums they have appropriated.

And of course, all the PA has to do to have Israel turn over the sums it is now withholding is simply to  stop supporting terrorist murderers. Is that so much to ask?

The Biden Administration has pledged to give hundreds of millions of dollars to the PA despite the continuation of the Pay-For-Slay subsidies. It is shamelessly ignoring the provisions of the Taylor Force Act, and so far Congress, dominated by Democrats, has yet to take the Bidenites to task.

Qadri Abu Baker, head of prisoners affairs in the Palestine Liberation Organization, called the Israeli measure a crime of “terror and piracy.”

Yes, of course. Withholding tax money collected by Israel for the PA in the exact amount that the PA gives in subsidies to imprisoned terrorists, or to the families of terrorists killed while engaged in their foul acts is a crime of “terror and piracy.” Committed not by the Arab murderers, but by the Israelis who do not want those murderers and their families to be rewarded.

But there is more that Israel could do, to bring the world’s attention to the full scope of the PA”s celebration of terror. For years the PA has not only been paying large sums to terrorists and their families, but it has been naming squares and streets and buildings after those terrorists, as a way to honor them, and to remind people of their acts of derring-do (like machine-gunning to death, and blowing up with a grenade, people on a bus or at a pizzeria), keeping them in the Palestinian consciousness as figures to be emulated. Why should Israel not demand an end to this hideous practice, declaring to the world that it will double the amount of money it will withhold from transfer to the PA, until such time as the glorification of terrorist murderers, through the naming of public places after them, ceases to be the PA’s practice.

The Israelis can point to Dalia Mughrabi, who led the operation in which Palestinian and Lebanese terrorists first arrived on a beach near Tel Aviv. Meeting up with an American nature photographer, Gail Rubin, Mughrabi asked her where they were; after Rubin answered, Mughrabi shot her dead. The group then hijacked a taxi, killing the driver, and finally hijacked a bus. When Israeli soldiers tried to stop the hijackers; Mugrabi used a grenade to blow up the bus and its passengers; 38 Israelis were killed, including 13 children. Mughrabi was also killed in the explosion. She has become a national hero for the PA.

Numerous Palestinian sites and institutions, inaugurated by the PA, bear her name, including a public square, schools, a computer center, a soccer tournament, and a summer camp. The young Palestinians are encouraged to honor her memory, to think of her murders as acts of heroism instead of as the atrocities they actually were. In May 2017, the Palestinian Authority via its organisation Women’s Affairs Technical Committee (WATC) named a women’s center in the town of Burqa after Mughrabi and celebrated her as a role model.

The center was built with the aid of the government of Norway and UN Women. Norway’s Foreign Minister demanded that Norway’s funding for the building be repaid and its logo removed from the building. He said that “Norway will not allow itself to be associated with institutions that take the names of terrorists in this way”.

The United Nations also condemned the naming as “glorification of terrorism”: “The glorification of terrorism, or the perpetrators of heinous terrorist acts, is unacceptable under any circumstances. The UN has repeatedly called for an end to incitement to violence and hatred as they present one of the obstacles to peace.” The UN then demanded that its logo be removed from the building.

The Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs started its own investigations of WATC and found it had withheld central information about the naming of the center; the Danish Ministry then ended its working relationship with WATC. As a result of its findings, Denmark ceased funding 23 other NGOs in Palestine.

If even left-leaning Scandinavian lands were sufficiently outraged to demand repayment of sums spent on a women’s center bearing Mughrabi’s name, it is likely that few governments will object if Israel decides to withhold more money unless and until the PA agrees both to stop the practice of naming public places after terrorists, and pledges to remove the names of terrorists such as Mughrabi from public sites. Otherwise, Israel should hold onto, in addition to the $180 million it has just pledged to withhold, another sum, perhaps as much again – that is $180 million — sure to get the PA’s attention. When the PA howls in righteous rage at this “theft,” few countries will be sympathetic; they will have no trouble recognizing what is intolerable about the PA’s practice of naming sites after the most ruthless of terrorist murderers, such as Dahlia Mughrabi.

Appeals to morality or decency will not work with the PA; the withholding of money that it believes is its due, however, is sure to get its attention. If the amounts withheld by Israel are large enough, even the PA, especially if it realizes that its glorification of terrorists is looked at askance by the soi-disant “international community,” will have to eventually capitulate. An outcome devoutly to be wished.