'New PA law to grant all convicted terrorists monthly pay'

Those eligible include planners of suicide bombings, Palestinian Media Watch says in urging donor countries to stop funding PA.

May 20, 2011 02:27
4 minute read.
Palestinian Media Watch (PMW)

Palestinian Media Watch PMW 311. (photo credit: Courtesy)


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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.

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.

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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 release.

The PMW report points out that more than 6,000 Palestinians are currently serving time in Israeli prisons for terror- related offenses.

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 funding.”

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 says.

The new law was enacted before the recent Fatah-Hamas reconciliation agreement and was published in the official PA Registry on April 13, 2011.

The law includes:

• A monthly salary “to provide for the needs of prisoners within Israeli prisons”
• Additional benefits for released prisoners
• 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 with children.

Arabs from Jerusalem and Israeli-Arabs imprisoned for terror offenses will get an additional supplement of NIS 300 and NIS 500, respectively.

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 law.

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 statement.

“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 these laws.

“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 members.

The ministry pointed out that the PA had been paying salaries to prisoners since its establishment in 1994.

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