Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
(photo credit: REUTERS/MOHAMAD TOROKMAN)
The Palestinian Authority has paid no less than NIS 234,172,000 (more than $65 million), or, on average, NIS 46,834,400 a month in salaries to terrorist prisoners (including released prisoners), according to a PA financial expenditures report for the first five months of 2019.
In research presented this week by Palestinian Media Watch (PMW), this represents an increase of as much 11.8%. The payments to terrorist prisoners in 2018 amounted to NIS 502 million, the PMW reported earlier this year.
The numbers that PMW published only relate to terrorist prisoners and do not include the PA payments to the families of dead terrorists or Palestinian “martyrs,” as those are listed together with the wounded and those civilians who have been killed but were not involved in terror.
In July 2018, the Knesset passed the “Pay for Slay” bill into law
, stating that the State of Israel will deduct the amount of money that the Palestinian Authority gives to terrorists and their families from the taxes and tariffs Israel collects for the authority.
The law mandates that the government deducts, on a monthly basis, one-twelfth of the sum given to support terrorists and their families from the taxes and tariffs Israel collects and transfers to the Palestinian Authority. This came into effect in February 2019, when Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said
convened the security cabinet and made the necessary decision to offset the funds. The money has since started to be deducted.
Donor countries considered filling the void but asked that there be full financial transparency by the Palestinian Authority and that the PA government publish a monthly report of their budget expenditures. However, the PA decided to disregard those demands and due to the Israeli law, instead of the report published on the PA's Ministry of Finance website, was a notice saying, "Due to the contingency law and legal dependencies with the Israeli side, the financial reports were temporarily suspended."
The reports are now published.
"Now, less than a month after PMW exposed the fact that the Palestinian Authority was hiding its finances, the PA Ministry of Finance has restored what appears to be most of the current budgetary information that its website used to contain," PMW head Itamar Marcus said. "But strikingly, the PA’s annual budgets for the years 2014 to 2018 have been removed and the PA budget for 2019 has not been published."
Similarly, Maurice Hirsch, head of legal strategies for PMW said, "It will be interesting to see if this latest PA admission of increased expenditures on terror will influence the international community's financial support of the PA, or Israeli steps to alleviate the PA financial crisis."
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