Palestinian Media Watch PMW 311.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
A new Palestinian Authority law grants a monthly salary to all Palestinians and
Israeli-Arabs imprisoned in Israel for terrorism, a media watchdog says in a
report being released on Friday.
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While Palestinian car thieves in Israeli
prisons will not receive a salary, Hamas and Fatah terrorist killers will, the
Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) report says.
Those serving sentences of
more than 20 years will receive higher salaries, according to the new PA
law. Salaries are to be paid from the day of arrest until
The PMW report points out that more than 6,000 Palestinians are
currently serving time in Israeli prisons for terror- related
Among those now eligible for salaries are Abdullah Barghouti,
serving 67 life sentences for acts that include planning the Sbarro restaurant (2001) and Moment cafe (2002) suicide bombings in Jerusalem; Hassan
Salameh, serving 38 life sentences for offenses that include planning a series
of 1996 bus bombings; and Jamal Abu al-Hijja, serving nine life sentences for
planning 2005 bombings in Hadera and Netanya.
The new PA law stipulates
that payment “will be implemented...on the basis of available sources of
Accordingly, when the PA is short of cash, salaries to the
prisoners will be cut, said PMW.
Such direct aid to the PA could be part
of the “available sources” for terrorist salaries or could free money elsewhere
in the PA budget that could be used for these salaries, the report
The new law was enacted before the recent Fatah-Hamas
reconciliation agreement and was published in the official PA Registry on April
The law includes:
• A monthly salary “to provide for the needs
of prisoners within Israeli prisons”
• Additional benefits for released
• Additional benefits for prisoners’ families
• Funding “for the
prisoners’ legal needs.”
Hundreds of Palestinian prisoners are serving
multiple lifesentences for murder and will receive a PA salary, which goes
directly to the terrorist or the terrorist’s family.
All of these
prisoners, no matter what their crime or affiliation, will receive the same base
salary. Married prisoners will also receive additional pay, as well as those
Arabs from Jerusalem and Israeli-Arabs imprisoned for
terror offenses will get an additional supplement of NIS 300 and NIS 500,
The PMW report quotes an article in a PA newspaper that
explained that the new law offered prisoners a series of privileges, including
exemption from tuition fees at government schools and universities, if the
inmate serves five years or more in prison.
In addition, the law states
that a prisoner’s children will be exempt from 80 percent of their academic
tuition fees if the prisoner was sentenced to at least 20 years and has been in
prison for at least five.
Every released prisoner will be exempt from
government health insurance if he served at least five years in prison, while
female prisoners will be exempt for serving at least three, according to the
PMW warned that funding to the PA by donor nations could enable the
payment of the salaries.
“This is not just about funding,” Itamar Marcus
and Nan Jacques Zilberdik of the media watchdog group said in a
“This is about what the PA is, and what they stand
for. We feel the US and EU should be reevaluating not just their funding,
but their entire relationship with the PA.”
Marcus and Zilberdik said
that while donor countries have “carefully created laws to prevent their money
from supporting PA incitement and terror,” they have been lax in adhering to
“Paying salaries to imprisoned terrorists is just one example
of how the PA uses its budget to support and glorify violence, thereby violating
the intentions of its donors,” they charged. “As long as the donor countries
continue to support the PA budget – ignoring what the budget as a whole is
funding – they are directly responsible for the continuation of PA hate
incitement and terror glorification.”
In 2004, the PA defined by law
exactly who would be considered a prisoner as “anyone imprisoned in the
occupation’s [Israel’s] prisons as a result of his participation in the struggle
against the occupation.”
The PA’s Ministry for Prisoner Affairs said
Thursday that its policy had always been to pay salaries to prisoners and their
families “regardless of their political affiliations.”
The ministry said
it was unaware of any new law concerning salaries of prisoners and their
families. It said, however, that the PA government had in recent years taken a
number of decisions to raise the salaries of the prisoners and their family
The ministry pointed out that the PA had been paying salaries to
prisoners since its establishment in 1994.