Defying a new Israeli law, the Palestinian Authority announced Monday it will continue to pay monthly salaries to imprisoned terrorists through local banks in the Palestinian territories.
Banks receiving the terrorists salaries are violating a law enacted May 9 by Israel in Judea and Samaria, also known as the West Bank. It regards rewards for acts of terror as a crime, punishing anyone involved in the processing of the payments, including the banks and their employees, according to the Israel-based Palestinian Media Watch.
The director of the Palestinian Liberation Organization’s Commission of Prisoners’ Affairs, Qadri Abu Bakr, said Monday the PA will continue to pay the salaries through the banks for four months until the establishment of a new “banking institution” under the authority of the PLO.
The plan for the new bank was a response to the Israeli law.
Th official PA news agency cited Abu Bakr saying “the payment of the salaries of the prisoners and the Martyrs’ families through the banks will continue until the development of a banking institution that will become a bank for them.”
Abu Bakr said that stopping the payment of the salaries “harms the history of the prisoners and Martyrs, their struggle, and their sacrifices.”
After enactment of the law earlier this month, Palestinian Media Watch wrote to the heads of banks in the Palestinian Authority areas, warning that if they continue to process the funds, they could face personal criminal liability as well as expose their banks to civil law suits from terror victims.
Israel’s minister of defense recently adopted PMW’s recommendation to seize the salaries paid to Israeli-Arab terrorists.
PMW said that because of the attention it has drawn to the issue, in 2018 the United States passed the Taylor Force Act, which conditioned aid to the PA on abolition of the practice.
The Netherlands and Australia have also stopped funding the PA following PMW’s meetings with members of parliament in the two countries. In Israel, PMW played a central role in the passage of legislation that imposes financial sanction on the PA for the practice. In 2019, Israel froze the transfer to the PA of more than 500 million shekels, about $144 million.