TEL AVIV – The Palestinian Authority has warned that Israel’s decision to implement legislation to cut off funding to the PA over its so-called pay-for-slay scheme will result in anarchy in the West Bank, with PA President Mahmoud Abbas saying that if Israel deducts even “one penny” from tax monies owed to the PA, the PA would not accept the money transfers.
The comments came after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday vowed to begin cutting funds to the PA over its payments to convicted terrorists and their families within a week’s time.
“By the end of the week, the staff work necessary for implementing the law on deducting terrorists’ salaries will be completed,” he said at the weekly cabinet meeting.
“Next Sunday I will convene the Security Cabinet and we will approve the necessary decision to deduct the funds. Let nobody doubt, the funds will be deducted, at the start of next week.”
The PA minister for civilian affairs, Hussein al-Sheikh, told the AFP news agency that Abbas had told Israel he would not accept the taxes and tariffs collected by it on behalf of the PA if the cuts happen.
He added that any spare monies would first go to terrorists.
The PA will “not allow any act of piracy against our money under the pretext of implementing Israeli law. We affirm that if we have one dollar, we will spend it on the families of our martyrs and prisoners,” al-Sheikh said.
He added that international entities had begun complying with a U.S. demand for a financial embargo on the PA. According to al-Sheikh, the Arab League was unable to transfer $10 million in aid from Iraq to the PA as a result of the embargo.
“We are a people under occupation, which is the ugliest form of terrorism,” he later added. “We have the right to liberty and independence.”
PA Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah warned that the PA was “prepared for all scenarios in case Israel deducts money from the tax and tariff duties.”
He added that the move would not prevent his government from continuing to grant stipends to security prisoners and families of “martyrs,” referencing terrorists killed while carrying out attacks against Israelis.
The Jerusalem Post quoted a PA official describing Israel’s move as “an act of piracy and theft.” He further warned that Israeli and U.S. measures against the PA would result in a “state of anarchy” in the West Bank.
Another PA official echoed the warning, saying that “chaos” would unfold in the West Bank, which would “present the best gift to Hamas,” the rival group to Fatah, which rules the West Bank.
He also charged Netanyahu with leveraging PA monies to advance his election campaign. “Netanyahu wants to show his people that he’s punishing the Palestinians so he can win more votes,” the official said.