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The State of Israel will deduct the amount of money that the Palestinian Authority gives to terrorists and their families from the taxes and tariffs Israel collects for the authority, after the Knesset passed the “Anti-Pay for Slay” bill into law Monday night.
The law passed in its final reading by a vote of 87 to 15, with the support of MKs from every faction, except for Meretz and the Joint List.
“The money given in the past to terrorists and the lives of those who were murdered cannot be returned, but from now on it will be different, and lives will be saved,” the bill’s sponsor, Yesh Atid MK Elazar Stern, told the Knesset plenum after the vote.
Stern paid tribute to US army captain Taylor Force, who was murdered on the Tel Aviv boardwalk in March 2016, saying that he inspired the law. Stern pointed out Force’s father, Stuart Force, who was present in the plenum for the vote.
“We have too many Taylor Forces in Israel,” Stern lamented. “May this law be part of the commemoration of your late son, who is a hero of the Jewish people.”
Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman celebrated the vote on Twitter, writing that “we promised to stop terrorists from receiving salaries, and we kept our promise.” He said that from now on every shekel Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas gives murderers would be removed from his own budget.
“An effective war on terror is also waged via the pocketbooks of the terrorists and their families,” Liberman said.
The vote followed two hours of fierce debates, which began with Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee chairman Avi Dichter giving examples of murderers who receive the 1.2 billion shekels a year the PA distributes in monthly stipends. That sum will already be frozen this year, due to the law.
Joint List MK Jamal Zehalka responded by accusing Dichter, who headed the Shin-Bet security service, of being responsible for the deaths of thousands of people. Zehalka called other MKs terrorists and murderers and suggested that their salaries be taken away, rather than those of the Palestinians serving sentences in Israeli prisons.
His Joint List colleague Haneen Zoabi called the legislation “stupid” and ”collective punishment” and said it would not break the spirit of the Palestinian people.