Israel May Ban PA Fund Transfers to Convicted Terrorists

Security cabinet decides to press on with efforts to rescue three abducted teens.

ברק רביד - צרובה
Barak Ravid
Send in e-mailSend in e-mail
Israeli soldier watches as others visit shops in an attempt to obtain security camera footage during a search for three Israeli abducted teens in the West Bank city of Hebron, June 19, 2014.
Israeli soldier watches as others visit shops in an attempt to obtain security camera footage during a search for three Israeli abducted teens in the West Bank city of Hebron, June 19, 2014. Credit: AP
ברק רביד - צרובה
Barak Ravid

The security cabinet has decided to examine options for preventing the Palestinian Authority from transferring funds to Palestinians imprisoned in Israel, the Prime Minister's Office said in a statement.

The Palestinian Authority's Ministry for Prisoners' Affairs gives stipends totaling 20 million shekels a month to Palestinian prisoners. The stipends vary between 1,400 shekels for a prisoner sentenced to three years to 12,000 shekels for a 30 year sentence. Released prisoners are eligible for stipends varying between 5,000 for less than three-years in prison and 87,000 shekels for serving over 30 years.

In recent years, Israel has been claiming that the funds given by by foreign governments to the Palestinian Authority, earmarked for building up the Authority's institutions, are eventually allocated for these stipends. Several countries, including Britain and Norway, have changed the relevant procedures to make sure their donations are not transferred to prisoners.

After the kidnapping of three Israeli teens about two weeks ago and the following decision to level sanctions against Hamas members imprisoned in Israel, several lawmakers have suggested Israel take action against the stipends. Economy Minister Naftali Bennett and Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Chairman Ze'ev Elkin have claimed the stipends constitute an incentive for impoverished Palestinians to perform attacks against Israel.

However, stopping these funds is complicated, and nearly impossible, as the stipends are passed directly from the Authority to the prisoners' bank accounts in Palestinian banks, without any Israeli intervention.

In Wednesday's discussion, officials from the Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories and the Shin Bet suggested Israel deduct the stipends from the taxes it collects for the Palestinian Authority. Another suggestion was to pursue legal action against the Palestinian banks involved for funding terrorism.

These two suggestions are complicated for both legal and political reasons. For instance, deducting the stipends from Palestinian tax revenue will not actually stop the stipends, but may raise international condemnation and accusations that Israel is robbing the Authority.

Another suggestion raised in the cabinet meeting was to try and act jointly with international organizations and Western states to level sanctions against the Palestinian Authority and the banks. Though this route may take a long time before it bears fruit, it seems like the only practical option for now.

Click the alert icon to follow topics:

Comments

SUBSCRIBERS JOIN THE CONVERSATION FASTER

Automatic approval of subscriber comments.
From $1 for the first month

Already signed up? LOG IN

ICYMI

בנימין נתניהו השקת ספר

Netanyahu’s Israel Is About to Slam the Door on the Diaspora

עדי שטרן

Head of Israel’s Top Art Academy Leads a Quiet Revolution

Charles Lindbergh addressing an America First Committee rally on October 3, 1941.

Ken Burns’ Brilliant ‘The U.S. and the Holocaust’ Has Only One Problem

Skyscrapers in Ramat Gan and Tel Aviv.

Israel May Have Caught the Worst American Disease, New Research Shows

ג'אמיל דקוור

Why the Head of ACLU’s Human Rights Program Has Regrets About Emigrating From Israel

ISRAEL-VOTE

Netanyahu’s Election Win Dealt a Grievous Blow to Judaism