Israel warns it will cut Palestinian tax transfer if killer’s family is paid

Relatives and friends mourn during the funeral of Ari Fuld, 45, at a cemetery in Kfar Etzion in the occupied West Bank September 17, 2018. (Reuters)
Updated 21 September 2018

Israel warns it will cut Palestinian tax transfer if killer’s family is paid

  • American-born Ari Fuld, 45, was stabbed at a shopping mall in the Etzion bloc of Jewish settlements south of Jerusalem on Sunday.
  • His attacker, Khalil Youssef Jabarin, 17, from a village in the occupied West Bank, was shot at the scene and has since been in Israeli custody.

JERUSALEM: Israel will cut the tax revenue it transfers to the Palestinian Authority if it pays the family of the killer of an American-Israeli settler, Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon said on Friday.
Kahlon said he had instructed that any sum paid to the attacker’s family be withheld from tax revenue that Israel collects on behalf of the Palestinian Authority (PA) under interim peace deals.
“I will examine other ways to limit the economic activity of the terrorist’s family,” he said on Twitter.
American-born Ari Fuld, 45, was stabbed at a shopping mall in the Etzion bloc of Jewish settlements south of Jerusalem on Sunday. His attacker, Khalil Youssef Jabarin, 17, from a village in the occupied West Bank, was shot at the scene and has since been in Israeli custody.
It has not yet been decided whether Jabarin and his family will receive payments, according to a Palestinian official.
Israel has in the past withheld tax funds and in July enacted a law to financially penalize the PA by the amount of stipends paid to Palestinians jailed by Israel, their families, and the families of those killed by Israeli forces.
Israel says such stipends are a reward and encouragement for the prisoners’ actions against it. The Palestinian Authority says they are welfare payments to support them and their families.
The PA, which has limited self-rule in the West Bank, where Israel retains overall security control, pays stipends that start at 1,400 shekels ($392) after a prisoner has been detained for three months. Amounts differ depending on the length of sentence.
Earlier this year, US lawmakers enacted legislation to sharply reduce the annual $300 million in US aid to the PA unless it took steps to stop making what lawmakers described as payments that reward violent crime.


Lebanon’s Aoun vows to tend to economic, financial reforms

Updated 45 min 48 sec ago

Lebanon’s Aoun vows to tend to economic, financial reforms

  • Aoun said this aimed “to guarantee political stability in cabinet and outside it and to secure the greatest amount of productivity”
  • He expected “the implementation path” to begin “with the start of October"

BEIRUT: Lebanon is expected to begin implementing in October a set of economic and financial measures agreed by its top leadership that will boost economic growth, President Michel Aoun said on Sunday, vowing that he would to tend to this himself.
He was referring to decisions taken at a top-level meeting earlier this month with the aim of reviving an economy that has been growing slowly for years and is struggling with one of the world’s heaviest public debt burdens.
After the Aug. 9 meeting, Prime Minister Saad Al-Hariri said agreed steps included finishing the 2020 budget on time, drawing up a plan to start $3.3 billion of projects approved by parliament, full implementation of a power sector reform plan, and laws to fight tax evasion and regulate public tenders.
“I will personally tend to the implementation path of the decisions of the financial and economic meeting” in cooperation with Prime Minister Saad Al-Hariri, Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri and other parties in government, Aoun said.
In written comments to Reuters, Aoun said this aimed “to guarantee political stability in cabinet and outside it and to secure the greatest amount of productivity,” including in the implementation of the 2019 budget and its reforms.
Aoun said he expected “the implementation path” to begin “with the start of October after the conclusion of the current preparations ... which will lead to lifting of the growth rates, reflecting positively on the economic and financial situations.”
After years of backsliding on economic reform, the impetus to act has grown due to economic stagnation and a slowdown in the flow of dollars into Lebanon’s banks from abroad. Lebanon has depended on such flows from its diaspora to finance the current account and the state budget deficits.
Foreign governments and donor institutions last year pledged $11 billion in financing to Lebanon for major infrastructure at the so-called Cedre conference in Paris, on condition that it carries out reforms.
Measures to reduce the budget deficit and reform the power sector, which bleeds public funds while inflicting daily power cuts on Lebanese, are seen as two vital tests of the government’s ability to reform.
The International Monetary Fund said in July this year’s deficit is likely to be well above a targeted 7.6% of national output.
It said the power reform plan and a budget to reduce the deficit were “very welcome first steps” and “further substantial fiscal adjustment and structural reforms” were needed.
Aoun said work was underway to approve the 2020 budget in the constitutional timeframe.
It would include “new, resolute reforms” agreed at the Aug. 9 meeting to reduce the power sector deficit, improve tax collection and fight customs and tax evasion.
Aoun also said frameworks must be put in place for implementing a plan drawn up by management consulting firm McKinsey for revamping the economy and this should coincide with the start of projects outlined at the Cedre conference.