In an appalling move to cut off funds from the already suffering Palestinian community, Israeli parliament has passed a law which will deny millions of dollars to Palestinians in welfare funds provided to prisoners and their families.
The law was approved after a heated debate to the vote of 87 off 120 lawmakers. 15 parliament members voted against the bill.
According to the new legislation, Palestinians, who are already suffering from budget cuts from the United States, will have to deduct money to be paid to prisoners and other victims of Israeli oppression. The money is collected by Israel in the form of taxes on behalf of the Palestinian Authority.
Lawmaker Avi Dichter, a co-sponsor of the law, defended his decision by making claims the Palestinian people have “easy access” to the money.
The new legislation resulted in fierce rebuke from Arab lawmakers.
“You are stealing from the Palestinian people," shouted Jamal Zahalka of the Joint List of Arab parties.
Israel has long rallied for Palestinians aide to be cut saying it encourages “violence.” The stipends assist almost 35,000 families of Palestinians killed or wounded at the hands of Israeli forces at the Gaza border as a result of a long strewn conflict between the two countries.
The new law will freeze approximately $330 million that amount to roughly seven percent of the Palestinian Authority’s allocated $5 billion dollar budget for 2018.
Palestinian and Arab leaders argue the money collected in taxes by Israel is their money and any effort to freeze the stipend should amount to stealing. According to them, the Palestinian Authority has a duty to their people just like any other government.
"This is nothing short of highway robbery, this is real piracy, they are stealing Palestinian funds, it's not theirs to decide what to do with it, if we were free we wouldn't need Israel to collect customs," senior Palestinian official Hanan Ashrawi said.
The cruel legislation was not the only blow for the people of Palestine who rely heavily on Israeli tax funds and international aid for survival.
Australia also announced it would cut off direct aid to the Palestinian Authority, claiming the step was taken in fears the money may be used for “politically motivated violence.”
Over the years, Israeli forces have made a habit of going after unarmed Gazans, killing them while they protest for their rights, on their side of the border. The massacre has resulted in a massive death toll, including children, women, journalists and medical personnel.
Thumbnail/ Banner Credits: REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman