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Israel to deduct tax money from PA used to aid Palestinian prisoners’ families

Palestinians attend a protest in support of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, in Gaza City, Gaza on 29 December 2017 [Ali Jadallah/Anadolu Agency

The Israeli Defence Ministry has proposed a bill that would see Israel deduct money from the Palestinian Authority (PA) in protest of the payments given to the families of Palestinian prisoners and those who have been killed by occupying forces, according to Ynet News.

The plan will see money deducted from the taxes Israel collects on behalf of the PA and instead set aside for Israelis affected by Palestinian resistance attacks, to finance projects that arrest and detain Palestinians deemed suspicious and improve security by boosting civil infrastructure for settlers.

According to the bill, Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman will present statistics to Cabinet at the end of each year, and the proportion of funds deducted from transfers to the PA will be decided.

Israel has long berated the PA for providing crucial subsidies to the families of those impacted by the occupation, framing the money as a reward for “terrorists”. Palestinian officials have said the payments are support for relatives “who lost their breadwinners to the atrocities of the occupation, the vast majority of whom are unduly arrested or killed by Israel”.

Read: PA plans for disengagement with Israel

In the aftermath of a resistance attack, the families of the alleged perpetrators often find their homes being demolished, their relatives arrested and their land taken. Amnesty International is one of many human rights groups that have repeatedly condemned such reprisals as a form of “collective punishment”.

Consequently, many Palestinians find themselves reliant on the benefits from the PA in order to survive.

Last month, Israel succeeded in swaying the Council of Europe to also condemn the PA’s payments for the first time.

The US has also frequently echoed Israel’s arguments and in September, the Trump administration announced its backing for a bill that would suspend US aid to the PA until the latter ended payments to prisoners and their families.

“The Trump administration strongly supports the Taylor Force Act, which is a consequence of Palestinian Authority and Palestine Liberation Organisation’s policy of paying terrorists and their families,” the State Department said at the time.

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