Israel will increasingly point out to the world the payments the Palestinian Authority provides to terrorists sitting behind bars to show that, despite their denials, the PA does promote and support terrorism, government sources said Tuesday.
The comments followed an Israel Radio report on Tuesday, based on newly revealed documents, showing that the PA pays tens of millions of shekels every month to terrorists in Israeli jails.
The government sources said it is important for the international community, which often hears complaints from the PA that it is running out of funds, where exactly much of the money is going.
According to documents obtained by Israel Radio, most of those behind bars receiving PA money are Hamas members who were behind some of the bloodiest terrorist attacks of the second intifada. Those receiving these PA “salaries” are all serving time in maximum-security prisons for the crimes they committed.
The government sources said that, while knowledge of these payments is “nothing new,” it clearly shows that the PA provides economic incentives for carrying out terrorist acts. More than that, one source said, the fact that these funds are allocated for that purpose helps bolster the image of terrorists – or as the Palestinians often call them, “martyrs” – into heroes.
“It is a problem for the PA. On one hand they claim they want peace and discourage violence, and on the other hand they put terrorists on pedestals, idolize them as heroes, and provide meaningful financial incentives for others to follow their path,” the source said.
According to the source, those who sit in jail for longer periods of time get more money, meaning that “the more gruesome the terrorism, the more money will be paid.”
Already in 2011, Palestine Media Watch issued a report showing that the PA was paying some $5 million a month to terrorists in Israel jails.
The security cabinet has over the years held discussions on what measures could be taken to halt those payments.
One of the documents uncovered Tuesday showed that Abdullah Barghouti, a Hamas bomb maker serving 67 life sentences, has so far received more than NIS 250,000.
Meanwhile, Ibrahim Hamad, who served as the head of Hamas’s military wing in the West Bank and is currently serving 54 life sentences, was shown in the documents to have already received NIS 20,000.
Both Bargouti and Hamad were involved in some of the worst suicide bombings of the second intifada, including the bombings at a cafeteria at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem on July 31, 2002, the Sbarro restaurant bombing in Jerusalem on August 9, 2001 and a nightclub bombing in Rishon Lezion on May 7, 2002.
The documents also showed that Muhammad Arman, who served as a representative of imprisoned Hamas members and is serving 36 life sentences, received NIS 250,000 as 2012.
Members of the PA security forces who were behind terrorist attacks during the second intifada, and are still serving sentences in Israeli jails, are also among those currently receiving six-figure “salaries.”