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Security Cabinet to vote on measures against the Palestinian Authority following ‘actions against Israel’

Measures intended to counter recent recognitions of Palestinian statehood

Illustration: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu leads a government conference at the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem on Dec. 10, 2023 (Photo: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90).

The Israeli Security Cabinet is set to vote on a series of measures against the Palestinian Authority (PA) in an upcoming meeting “following its actions against Israel in international bodies.” 

Among the measures being proposed are the strengthening of settlements in Judea and Samaria and possible actions against countries that supported recognition of Palestinian statehood. 

While the security cabinet discussed several punitive measures against the PA on Sunday evening, it also agreed to postpone a vote on several measures following a request from Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and Attorney General Gali Baharav-Miara for “additional time to comment on several of the proposed clauses.” 

Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich has been pushing for several actions against the PA due to its support for terrorists and their families in a policy referred to as “pay for slay.”

According to the policy, the Palestinian Authority pays a salary or a grant to terrorists who have been jailed for acts of terror against Israeli targets. It also pays a salary to the families of those who die while performing such acts. 

Ahead of the security cabinet meeting Sunday night, Smotrich proposed the following actions to penalize the PA: The legalization of four already existing settlements in Judea and Samaria (also known as the West Bank); denial of visa and travel documents to senior PA officials; sanctions against countries that unilaterally recognize a Palestinian state outside of a negotiated solution; and enforcing the rules prohibiting settlement or construction in a nature reserve zone in the Judean Desert, where the PA just began illegal construction. 

Last Thursday, Smotrich ordered the Ministry of Finance to transfer 130 million shekels (about $35 million) of tax revenue designated for the PA, to the victims of terror attacks instead. 

Smotrich posted an explanation for the decision on his 𝕏 account. 

“The Palestinian Authority encourages and favors terrorism by paying the families of terrorists, prisoners and released prisoners. In accordance with the judgments that awarded compensation to the victims of terrorism, we offset the same amounts from the PA’s funds and transfer the awarded money to the families of the victims of terrorism,” he wrote.

“At this time, I signed an order that transfers about 130 million shekels from the PA’s frozen funds to victims of terrorism. Justice.” 

In March, the Knesset passed legislation aimed at facilitating the process for victims of Palestinian terrorism to apply for financial compensation from PA funds. 

The Palestinian Authority has strongly resisted any efforts to end its payments to terrorists and their families, even reducing government salaries to enable the payments to continue. 

If the security cabinet approves the proposals, it would likely increase friction with the administration of U.S. President Joe Biden, which has consistently pushed for a two-state solution and protested measures taken against the PA.

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

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