Palestinian Authority: Continues “Pay for Slay” Despite Israel and U.S. Financial Ban

The U.S. passed a law to prevent American taxpayer dollars from being used to pay for and incentivize the murder of Israelis or Americans by the Palestinian Authority. The Taylor Force Act was signed into law by President Donald Trump on March 23, 2018.

Israel now, has finally followed suit.

The U.S. law was named for a U.S. Army veteran, who at the time of his murder was a 29 year-old graduate student at Vanderbilt University. Force was in Israel in March, 2016, as part of a student group studying global entrepreneurship. The young veteran was murdered near a Tel Aviv beach by a Palestinian Arab terrorist who went on a stabbing spree. The terrorist killed Force and injured 11 others. That stabbing frenzy was just one of three terrorist attacks in Israel that day.

It’s taken Israel nearly a year to follow the U.S. lead on the issue and stop the transfer of funds to the Palestinian Authority for those “Pay for Slay” schemes.


During his weekly cabinet session in mid-February, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced the implementation of a law passed by the 120 seat Israeli Knesset (parliament) in July. That law freezes the transfer of tax funds to the PA, equivalent to the amount the PA pays to its terrorists or their families. The law was approved by a vote of 87-15.

This bizarre-sounding tax-transfer scheme is one of the few elements of the celebrated Oslo Accords which remains in effect. It requires Israel to charge and collect tax money at its ports on behalf of the PA, and then to transfer those funds to the PA.

Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations, Danny Danon, immediately praised his government’s announcement: “The PA’s #blood_money policy reflects its culture of terror and incitement. No country should help fund a policy that pays terrorists to murder its people.”

Dannon’s tweet contains a chart of payments made by the PA to terrorists for crimes against Israelis. The more brutal, widespread and successful the crime, the higher the payments the terrorists receive.


“it is both a relief and moral victory that the Israeli government has decided to begin withholding monies from the Palestinian Authority,” Naftali Moses

The firstborn son of Naftali Moses was murdered by a Palestinian Arab terrorist on March 6, 2008. Avraham David Moses, 16, was brutally shot to death along with eight other students who were studying in their school library.

Naftali Moses wrote in an email, “it is both a relief and moral victory that the Israeli government has decided to begin withholding monies from the Palestinian Authority–finally holding them fiscally accountable for their obscene promotion of terror.”

Less sanguine is Kay Wilson. Wilson was an Israeli tour guide who, on Dec. 18, 2010, was stabbed by a Palestinian Arab terrorist with a machete with such force that 30 of her bones were broken. The American woman whom Wilson was guiding, Kristine Luken, was hacked to death before Wilson’s eyes.

Wilson has been waiting a very long time for her country to stop the terrorism funding payments. She told this reporter that it has been an “injustice upon injustice” that Palestinian Arab murderers have received financial rewards for their heinous crimes.

“Moreover, that the government of Israel has allowed this to happen actually beggars belief.” Wilson continued, “As a survivor of terrorism, not only do I welcome this decision, I am indebted to other survivors and bereaved families who have fought long and hard so this measure of justice could be served.”


The PA does not deny its payments for terrorism. Rather than calling it Pay for Slay, however, the PA considers the payments a welfare system for families who have lost a breadwinner, though only this kind of lost breadwinner is so rewarded. In fact, this murder wage is higher than what most Palestinian Arabs earn for non-murderous work.

The response from the Palestinian Arab leadership to Israel’s new law was instantaneous and unequivocal.

Palestinian Prime Minister of the current caretaker government, Rami Hamdallah, revealed
that the payments are considered a form of sacrosanct “disability” payment. He said the payments to the “families of the martyrs and the prisoners” are “our duty and a debt owed by us.”

The PA’s spokesman issued a press release when the law was passed. The PA, Nabil Abu Rudeineh wrote, “will not agree to any moves against the money of the hero prisoners and the families of those killed or wounded.”


Some Arab leadership hinted at exactly what Israeli and other security experts have long used as a justification for failing to stop the terrorism payments earlier: it may herald the end of the Palestinian Authority. While the PA pays its citizens to murder as many Israelis as possible, the alternative – Hamas – is considered even worse.

Secretary General of the Palestine Liberation Organization Saeb Erekat made that threat explicit, after Netanyahu’s announcement that Israel would stop the payments. Erekat accused Israel of attempting to destroy the PA. He told the official Palestinian radio station that “what Israel intends to do is to cut salaries paid to prisoners … which is part of the Israeli-U.S. scheme that aims at destroying the PA.”

Responding to such a threat, former Israeli ambassador to the U.S. Michael Oren tweeted:
“PA says that the Israelis’ decision to withhold the millions of dollars it pays to terrorists for killing Jews will damage security cooperation. Which is like saying that Israel will impair its security if it doesn’t transfer the cash to pay the Palestinian murderers of Jews.” And Israel’s Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked told Israel’s public television station that if Abbas chooses to collapse his government rather than stop paying terrorists to murder Jews, “let him collapse [it].”


As the responses from Palestinian Arab officials make clear, the Pay for Slay scheme is an inviolable core of the PA structure. Without it, this government — which provides little in the way of infrastructure, health systems or technology to its people — would have been overthrown long ago. The terrorism payments are so essential that the PA has refused to end Pay for Slay no matter how much foreign aid, upon which the Palestinian Arabs are dependent, is reduced.

Speaking after the new Israeli law was passed in July, Mahmoud Abbas spoke to an official gathering of former security prisoners and families and relatives of terrorists in his office. He told them that the “martyrs” and prisoners are considered “the stars in the sky of the Palestinian national struggle, and they have preference in everything.” To underscore this position, he pledged that “If we are left with one penny, we will spend it on the families of the prisoners and martyrs.”

One note of caution: Israel has suspended the transfer of tax funds several times in the past because of PA recalcitrance in reining in terror or for non-payment of debts. Each time Israel resumed those payments, albeit after international pressure. The current law initially directed the withheld funds to be used for victims of terrorism or to pay for destruction caused by terrorism. The law as passed requires the funds to be held in escrow, to be turned over to the PA should the Pay for Slay scheme end.

Of more immediate concern, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Human Affairs (OCHA) and the PA issued a joint statement in mid-December, launching a $350 campaign to “address the critical humanitarian needs of Palestinians.”

That amount, according to Palestinian Media Watch, is equivalent to the $355 dollars the PA allocated in its 2018 budget to fund Pay for Slay.

Correction: The boys murdered in the Mercaz HaRav Massacre were shot to death, not stabbed, as was written in the original version of this article.