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Israeli finance minister halts transfer of funds to Palestinian Authority over Hamas support

PA is paying millions of dollars to families of terrorists

Israeli Finance Minister of Finance Bezalel Smotrich attends a press conference at the Ministry of Finance in Jerusalem, Oct. 19, 2023. (Photo: Noam Revkin Fenton/Flash90)

Israel’s Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich on Monday said he had ordered to halt this month’s transfer of tax and customs funds to the Palestinian Authority and requested to convene a security cabinet meeting on the matter.

Smotrich justified his decision by pointing out recent statements made by Palestinian Authority (PA) officials in support of Hamas, as well as the misuse of the funds.

The PA uses the funds to pay around NIS 600 million (over $148 million) annually to the families of terrorists and security prisoners, including those from Gaza, Israeli financial newspaper Calcalist reported.

“It is unthinkable that in this reality we will continue to transfer funds to Gaza as if nothing had happened,” Smotrich wrote in a letter to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The leader of the Religious Zionism Party ordered his ministry to stop the monthly transfer of funds that are collected by Israel as part of the Paris Agreements, the economic annexes to the Oslo Agreements.

“Beyond the connection of these funds to the Gaza Strip and its residents," Smotrich wrote, “these funds are used for activities against the State of Israel and its citizens.”

Smotrich’s letter contained an appendix with 12 recent statements by PA officials in support of Hamas and the massacre the terror organization carried out on Oct. 7.

“Hamas is a central part of the Palestinian political landscape, we are working to achieve unity under the guidance of President Abu Mazen,” said Mohammed Shtayyeh, the Palestinian Prime Minister, adding that “Israel is to blame for the situation.”

“The West Bank will surprise everyone, God willing, maybe we will see more such sights in the West Bank,” Jamal al-Hawil, a Fatah council member said about the brutal Hamas assault against Israel.

Another statement appeared on the PA’s official broadcaster Palestine TV on Oct. 7 saying: “Today Gaza laid a blow the occupation won’t forget… today we awoke united.”

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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