The PA’s “Pay-For-Slay” program provides generous monthly subsidies – worth several times the average Palestinian wage – to imprisoned terrorists, and to the families of those killed while committing their acts of terrorism. In this way, the “Pay-For-Slay” program rewards past, and incentivizes future, terrorism. But there have been severe costs to the PA as a result of this program. First, the Israeli government has been refusing to transfer to the PA part of the tax revenues it collects for the PA, the amount withheld equaling the amount the P.A. spends on “Pay-For-Slay.” This currently amounts to about $300 million a year. Second, the Taylor Force Act, passed by Congress in 2018, requires the U.S. to withhold all economic aid to the PA as long as it continues with its “Pay-For-Slay” program. While the Trump Administration complied with the act, the Biden Administration has refused to do so, insisting that there is an exception for “humanitarian aid,” which is what it claims is the only kind of aid it provides the PA. There is no such exception in Taylor Force, and eventually the Bidenites’ deliberate misunderstanding of its provisions will be examined by Congressional investigators. Third, some previous donors to the PA have decided to cut all aid to the PA as long as the “Pay-For-Slay” Program continues. Donor aid has, in fact, decreased by 90% in the last four years.. More on the PA’s insistence on holding onto “Pay-For-Slay” can be found here: “PA defies the world to continue terror reward payments,” by Maurice Hirsch, Palestinian Media Watch, April 30, 2023:
While the Palestinian Authority continues to hide its finances from the international community, a recent statement by PA Prime Minister Muhammad Shtayyeh again demonstrates the clear effectiveness of Israel’s Anti-Pay-for-Slay law and the pressure being put on the PA by the international community.
The PA government recently approved its 2023 budget. Presenting the budget to the cabinet, Shtayyeh explained that the budget included a deficit of US$610 million. While acknowledging that the PA’s terror reward payments are causing financial damage to the PA, Shtayyeh clarified that the PA has no intention to abolish the payments:
Shtayyeh: “The Israeli monetary deductions and the decrease in the number of donors are meant to pressure us and subdue us, but everyone knows that we will not trade in policy for money, and what is important is that we rely on each other and understand the reality we live in.”
[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, April 4, 2023]
“The Israeli monetary deductions” Shtayyeh complained about, refer to deductions made pursuant to Israel’s Anti-Pay-for-Slay law. The law, passed in 2018 with the assistance of Palestinian Media Watch, provides that Israel must deduct from the taxes it collects and transfers to the PA, the sum the PA spent in the previous year paying salaries to imprisoned and released terrorists and allowances to the wounded terrorists and the families of dead terrorists – cumulatively known as the PA’s Pay-for-Slay policy.
Since the law was first implemented in February 2019, Israel has made decisions to deduct 2,479,478,454 shekels – a sum equivalent to the PA’s Pay-for-Slay payments in 2018 through 2022. As of the end of March 2023, Israel had actually deducted 2,014,058,985 shekels, and the remainder will be deducted during the rest of 2023.
According to the law, the sums deducted are frozen and held till such a time when the PA abolishes its policy.
Those sums withheld by Israel are adding up. In fact, if the PA ended “Pay-For-Slay” tomorrow, it would immediately receive, from the transfer of tax money now unfrozen by Israel, $551 million USD, which would go a long way in making up the PA’s current budget deficit of $610 million.
PMW also contributed to the decrease in the donor aid to the PA. According to PA financial reports, during the decade between 2011 – 2021 foreign aid to the PA plummeted by 90%.
In the US, the 2018 Taylor Force Act conditioned the bulk of US aid to the PA on the abolition of the policy. In 2019, after presentations by PMW’s director Itamar Marcus, both the Dutch and Australian Governments announced that they will no longer provide aid to the PA….
It’s not only Israel’s withholding of taxes collected that has been so damaging to the PA, but the donors who are now being systematically informed by the PMW about the PA’s Pay-For-Slay” Program, and are reacting by cutting their aid to the PA. Since 2019, two former major donors, Australia and the Netherlands, have ended all aid to the PA; other donor countries, as they learn more about “Pay-For-Slay” from Palestinian Media Watch, will follow suit. The PA’s Abbas will cling to “Pay-For-Slay” no matter what, but it’s not he, with his 400-million dollar family fortune, who will suffer, nor his well-paid loyalists in the Mukata in Ramallah. It’s the ordinary Palestinians, enduring unemployment and impoverishment, who are paying the price for his continued attachment to “Pay-For-Slay.”
This won’t end until Mahmoud Abbas is gone. He is 87 years old and in poor health. It can’t be long now. Then someone – not an Abbas loyalist like Mohammed Shtayyeh, but someone distinctly disapproving of Abbas’ mad desire to continue with “Pay-For-Slay” whatever the cost, will cast a cold eye on the PA’s financial situation, and decide, not on moral grounds of course, but simply to improve the bottom line, that it’s time to put paid to “Pay-For-Slay.”