Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas gestures during a ceremony marking the 54th anniversary of Fatah's founding, in Ramallah, December 31, 2018.
(photo credit: MOHAMAD TOROKMAN/REUTERS)
The PA is paying no less than NIS 732 million in financial rewards to terrorists and their relatives, a Palestinian Media Watch report revealed.
The report is based on data gathered from the B’Tselem organization in combination with information from the Palestinian Authority, the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) and noted historians. It is an update to a study the organization released earlier this month that looked at the amount of money being paid by the PA to terrorists who are in Israeli prisons and terrorists who were jailed and are currently released.
This report now ads the layer of relatives of dead terrorists who receive a monthly stipend and wounded terrorists.
“This is a much more difficult category to understand,” said Maurice Hirsch, a lawyer with PMW who prepared the report over the last three weeks.
Hirsch said the PA allocated NIS 1.2 billion to its annual budget for rewarding terrorists and people wounded or killed in terror and non-terror related incidents. Around NIS 502m. was used to pay prisoners and released prisoners. The rest was used for the families of the dead and the wounded. However, this amount includes payments not only to those who died or were hurt carrying out an attack, but also non-combatants.
Further, unlike how the jailed terrorists and released terrorists’ eligibility to receive a monthly salary and their additional rights are determined by the PA’s laws and regulations, which are published publicly, the money paid to the families of dead terrorists is not determined by the PA’s laws but rather by the PLO’s internal practices.
“The PA does not release statistics on this subject,” said Hirsch. “There is completely, really, a blackout on the whole thing.” PMW calculated that the PA spent in 2018 a minimum of NIS 230m. on payments to families of dead terrorists.
PMW likewise uncovered a rare interview with the secretary-general of the National Association of the Families of Martyrs of Palestine, Muhammad Sbeihat, that revealed a list of the lifetime payments to families of terrorist martyrs. This included NIS 6,000 paid immediately, NIS 1,400 per month for life, and additions based on family dynamics – NIS 400 extra per month per wife, NIS 200 per child, NIS 300 if the terrorist was a resident of Jerusalem, and NIS 300 if he/she was an Israeli resident.
The report comes less than a week after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that his government will for the first time implement a law that allows the government to deduct money from the taxes and tariffs it collects monthly on behalf of the PA, which it then uses to pay security prisoners and families of Palestinians who were killed while carrying out attacks against Israelis.
The amount that is going to be deducted is expected to be announced Sunday.
Hirsch said the Defense Ministry will reveal the amount of its deduction and that number is likely to be much higher than PMW’s number because it has greater access to intelligence information. He said PMW prepared its report because it is likely that much of the government’s report will be classified and the PMW report can help shed light on the government calculation.
“This gives a minimum estimate that can be shown in open sources,” Hirsch said.
He added that the problem is, “We have a situation of pay to slay and rewarding terrorist for their activities needs to stop.”
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