Ashrawi condemns Knesset bill to withhold money from PA

 PNN/ Ramallah/

PLO Executive Committee Member, Dr.Hanan Ashrawi on Monday  condemned a Knesset bill that allows Israel to deduct money from the Palestinian government, which it uses to offer financial support to the families of Palestinian prisoners and martyrs.

Ashrawi commented that ‘Israel insists on punishing its own victims and criminalizing any and all forms of resistance to its illegal and oppressive system of colonization’.She added that the bill is an ‘egregious violation of international law’, which Israel is using to collectively punish the Palestinian people.

The Palestinian Authority have made it clear they will not succumb to Israeli pressure, and will continue to financially support prisoners and their families. On Monday, its spokesman, Yousef Al-Mahmoud, confirmed the government’s loyalty to the ‘prisoners and martyrs who have sacrificed their lives… for the sake of the freedom and independence of their homeland’.

The third reading of this draft law took place on Monday. If passed, it will enable the Israeli government to withhold more money from the Palestinian Authority than it already does. Currently, Israel keeps 3% of the tax it collects in the occupied Palestinian territory, but Israel’s share will rise to roughly 10% should the law be approved.

Before the first reading of the draft law in March, Israel’s Ministerial Committee for Legislation defended its wish to deduct this money on the grounds that it would prevent welfare payments to ‘terrorists’.