Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee

Amb. Dore Gold:
There is sometimes a question, what is the Israeli position on the issue of actions against the PA, following these payments. Because, what we hear… what we hear from… various American sources is that they are not sure what the Israeli position is. By the way, the Israeli position is clear. In my time as the Director-General of the Foreign Ministry, I issued two reports, with the Prime Minister’s Bureau’s approval, stating that the Palestinians must stop these payments. It is very important that the Israeli position be clear – in order not to allow any excuses to those who are looking for one, in order to withhold their support for the Taylor Force Act.

Brig.-Gen. (res.) Yossi Kuperwasser:
People say, “Okay, we know they pay salaries to terrorists, but we do not know what the significance is.” We are not talking about pennies. We are talking about 7% of the PA budget and over 20% of its foreign aid, which it dedicates to salaries for terrorists in prison, with salaries for terrorists who leave prison because of the fact that they were terrorists, and it provides payments to the families of those who died as part of the struggle against Zionism. Whether it happened earlier, when the “struggle” occurred outside of “Palestine” or now, in Palestinian territory.

Dichter: What is the nominal amount?

Kuperwasser: The nominal amount is about one billion one hundred and fifty-two million shekels in 2016. 1.15 billion shekels in 2016. This amount is similar every year, they spend upwards of a billion every year in the last four years. The data I presented covers only the last four years, but if you look back, its billions more spent every year. Pay attention to the numbers, showing what happened in 2014-15. In light of international pressure, The PA decided that it could no longer transfer the funds directly, So it tried to manipulate it’s budget to hide the payments, using a very transparent trick, that nevertheless worked well enough to satisfy many international observers – it closed down the Ministry of Prisoners’ Affairs and transferred the funds to the PLO. The entire budget was transfered wholesale to the PLO in order to pay these salaries through the Palestinian National Fund – which was later declared by the Israeli Ministry of Defense, as a body that supports terrorism.

MK Yaakov Peri:
With the Chairman’s permission, I propose that the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee request that the Government of the State of Israel, through one of it’s representatives, be it the Minister of the Strategic Affairs or the Defense Minister, through COGAT, or anybody else for that matter, that these funds be deducted from the funds transferred by the State of Israel to the PA.

MK Oren Chazan:
This committee should outline the policy, because where the government does not know how to lead, we will lead.

Chairman MK Avi Dichter:
If there is a need for legislation – the committee knows how to legislate; if other actions are necessary – the committee that knows how to take other measures. The committee intends to be fully involved in the subject of Palestinian incitement.

About Brig.-Gen. (res.) Yossi Kuperwasser

Brig.-Gen. (res.) Yossi Kuperwasser is Director of the Project on Regional Middle East Developments at the Jerusalem Center. He was formerly Director General of the Israel Ministry of Strategic Affairs and head of the Research Division of IDF Military Intelligence.

About Amb. Dore Gold

Ambassador Dore Gold has served as President of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs since 2000. From June 2015 until October 2016 he served as Director-General of the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Previously he served as Foreign Policy Advisor to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s Ambassador to the UN (1997-1999), and as an advisor to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.