Palestinians decried an Israeli Supreme Court decision made the day before as ‘pirate’ of the Palestinian Authority’s finances and a collective punishment of the Palestinian people by Israeli radicals and right-wing parties.

Palestinian officials have called on the international judicial system, as well as legal and human rights agencies, to take immediate action to prevent “Israeli judicial extremism.”
The 68-page Supreme Court decision, which Arab News obtained a copy of, allows families of Israeli victims of terrorist attacks, whether they occur in the West Bank or Hamas-run Gaza, to sue the Palestinian Authority for financial compensation, based on the fact that the PA currently provides money to Palestinian prisoners and the families of martyrs who carried out attacks on Israelis. According to the court, such payments “indicate their carrying out terrorist actions,” and so the authority is accountable for compensating victims’ relatives.
The Israeli court’s verdict, Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayieh declared at the start of the PA’s weekly cabinet meeting on Monday, “is unacceptable to us and is illegal and illegitimate.”
He went on to say that the Palestinian administration was simply doing its job “toward orphans of martyrs’ sons, detainees, and their relatives.”

The ruling came after an appeal by four families whose relatives were slain in Palestinian attacks in Jerusalem during the Second Intifada around 20 years ago. A lower court had dismissed their claim for compensation.

The PA allegedly transmitted money to the perpetrators or their families, according to the Supreme Court, despite the PA’s denial of culpability for the attacks. Two of the three judges considering the case, however, concluded that the PA’s policy of paying convicts and their families was a “incentive” and “reward” for terrorism.

“In this conduct, there is a reward, incentive, contribution, and recognition of acts of terrorism, on the face of it even in violation of the Law on Combating Terrorism, and it should be seen as a confirmation of the wrongs committed by the prisoners-perpetrators,” Justice Yitzhak Amit wrote in his ruling.
The decision does not mean that the PA will be forced to compensate families of settlers killed or injured in attacks, but it does allow them to sue the PA, and any financial restitution could be obtained by the Israeli government using the compensation law, which allows it to deduct money from PA funds.

Qadri The court verdict, according to Abu Baker, minister of the Palestinian Authority’s Detainees and Ex-Prisoners Affairs Authority, is a “miserable attempt to dissuade the Palestinian people and its leadership,” and it is “piracy and extortion” in an attempt to confiscate the authority’s funds.

“The Israeli right-wing extremists take advantage of any chance or security situation to pass such decisions,” he continued, “all of which are endorsed by the fascist occupation government’s head.”

Abu Baker urged the international judicial system, as well as legal and human rights organizations, to act quickly to eliminate Israeli judicial extremism.

“At a time when American courts have dismissed petitions filed by Jewish radicals challenging the jurisdiction to claim compensation,” he added, “the Israeli Court is legislating this demand.”

According to a high-ranking Palestinian security source, implementing the court’s order could be a difficult task with potentially disastrous consequences. Currently, Israel collects taxes and customs charges on imported Palestinian goods through a procedure known as “clearing,” and then sends the monies to Ramallah each month after deducting specific amounts.

“Whenever an Israeli is injured or killed in a Hamas attack, Israel will deduct the compensation money from the Palestinian tax money it collects on behalf of the Palestinian Authority,” the source claimed. “However, little will remain of it, resulting in the PA’s weakening and, maybe, its eventual collapse.”
“This is piracy of the PA’s money and collective punishment against the Palestinian people,” a top PA security officer told Arab News.

“Since the Palestinian Authority is the official representative of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, it is the party that must pay compensation to Israeli victims of Palestinian aggression,” Israeli political analyst Yoni Ben-Menachem stated.
When Hamas fires a missile from Gaza, injuring Israelis, they are unable to file a case in Gaza’s courts and demand compensation from the rocket’s launchers. So, where does the Israeli victim express his dissatisfaction? He will very certainly be able to file a case with an Israeli court, which will compensate him with Palestinian Authority funds held by Israel.”

According to Ben-Menachem, the court decision was long overdue and should have been made years ago.
“Instead of battling terrorism, the Palestinian Authority offers payments to the families of detainees and martyrs, thus they must compensate Israeli civilians who have been victims of Palestinian aggression.”

Gershon Baskin, an Israeli peace campaigner, concurred with this viewpoint.

“The Palestinian Authority should reconsider the compensation being paid to the families of Palestinians who murdered Israelis by killing themselves, or to Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons, based on a pay scale that pays more if more Israelis were killed,” he told Arab News.

“There is no other way to look at this system but as a system of paying people to kill other people.” Palestine requires a social-welfare system that connects individuals who are in need. There should be a pension program, and there may even be a legal framework for rewarding persons who are involved in the Palestinian liberation struggle. However, rewarding people based on the number of other people they killed is plain incorrect.”

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