The Palestinian Authority, gov’t of West Bank autocrat Mahmoud Abbas is doubling down, forbidding Palestinians from receiving treatment in Israel because Jerusalem refuses to transfer nearly $138 million to the PA this year, the amount used to reward terrorists, a.k.a. ‘Pay to Slay’.
By Maurice Hirsch, Itamar Marcus, JNS and Israel Hayom Staff
Until now, Israel has been giving medical treatment in Israel to thousands of Palestinians every year. But this humanitarian program will now come to an end, as the Palestinian Authority has decided to stop sending its citizens in need of medical treatment to Israel.
The PA’s explanation is as follows: Since Israel is refusing to transfer approximately $138 million to the PA this year to spend on salaries to terrorists, the PA will no longer permit Palestinians to travel to Israel for medical treatment, for which the PA has to pay.
In essence, the PA has decided to punish its own citizens in need of medical treatment, which costs $100 million a year, because it lost $138 million that it pays to terrorists in Israeli prisons and released terrorist prisoners. Israeli law is explicit that should the PA stop paying salaries to terrorists, Israel could release and return all this money to the PA.
In 2015, the last year for which public records exist, more than 102,000 Palestinians were granted permits to enter Israel for treatment, including some 20,000 Palestinians who received medical treatment in Israeli hospitals.
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PA Health Ministry spokesman Osama Al-Najjar explained the cessation of medical referrals to the Israeli hospitals, starting from March 26, 2019, as follows:
“This decision was made in response to the deduction of sums [Israel transfers] from the taxes that [Israel] collects each month for the Palestinian coffers. He added that the cost of the referrals to the Israeli hospitals is $100 million a year.”
Stressing that the change of policy was not based on the desire to improve the medical care for Palestinians, Al-Najar added that: “The decision is political par excellence and comes in response to Israel deducting sums from the money that it collects for us.”
Shortly after the murder of Israeli teen Ori Ansbacher in February 2019, Israel’s cabinet decided to deduct NIS 502 million ($138 million) from the tax revenues Israel collects and transfers to the PA (Palestinian Media Watch had exposed that $138 million was the amount the PA admitted to paying in 2018 to terrorist prisoners and released prisoners).
In addition, the PA has also cut the salaries of its civil servants as a result of the financial crisis the PA is inflicting on itself.
Seen in their entirety, the decisions of the PA clearly demonstrate its priorities: Continuing to pay terrorists and released prisoners is more important than providing sick Palestinians with the opportunity to receive medical treatment in Israeli hospitals, or the right of its law-abiding non-terrorist employees to receive their full wages.
Realizing the hardships and medical crises this measure will inflict on its population, the PA added to its announcement that it will find “find alternatives for the sick in the state hospitals and in private hospitals.”
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