Israel slashes $138 million from Palestinians over terror payments

The Israeli security cabinet on Sunday approved the implementation of a law to cut over half a billion shekels in funds to the Palestinian Authority over its payments to terrorists and their families.

Some among the security establishment worry that enforcing the law could destabilize the situation in the West Bank.

A statement from the security cabinet said that ministers agreed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu could withhold NIS 502,697,000 ($138 million) in PA tax revenues, the amount Israeli officials say the PA paid out in stipends to attackers and their families in 2018.

Netanyahu also instructed security authorities to examine additional payments the PA is making in relation to terrorists and their families, the statement said.

“The amount frozen will be adjusted accordingly,” it noted.

The $138 million will likely be deducted incrementally over a 12-month period, according to local media reports.

Senior Palestine Liberation Organization official Ahmed Majdalani accused Israel and the United States, which has cut hundreds of millions of dollars in Palestinian aid, of an attempt at blackmail.

“The occupation government is seeking to destroy the national authority in partnership with the US administration of Donald Trump,” Majdalani said in a statement.

He described the move as “piracy.”

Acting Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah responded to the cabinet decision by calling the witholding of funds “collective punishment.”