The Palestinian Authority has been forced to distribute its stipends to imprisoned terrorists and their families via the post office for a third month, despite recipients complaining that the process is “humiliating,” according to Israeli NGO Palestinian Media Watch.
In May 2020, the head of the Israel Defense Forces in Judea and Samaria signed an amendment exposing Palestinian banks handling these payments to Israel’s anti-terror laws. That led to the closure of 35,000 accounts which had been used to make the monthly payments to imprisoned and released terrorists, as well as to wounded terrorists and the families of dead terrorists—so-called “martyrs,” PMW reported.
The Palestinian Authority moved some 4,000 released prisoners onto its payroll as employees, but is still struggling to find a way to get the salaries to the others. For the third month in a row, the P.A. has resorted to making the payments through the Post Office, but the policy is unpopular.
“The post office is unbearable,” Latifa Abu Hmeid, mother to six terrorists, told official P.A. TV last week, according to PMW.
“It is the worst thing for the families of the prisoners and martyrs. They are like beggars. I went from 8:00 a.m., just imagine, I stayed until 3:00 p.m., and I presented my identity card and did not receive the prisoner’s salary. I went home. This is suffering. I hope through you [P.A. TV] that they will find a solution for this, a designated bank or anything, because there are old people, older than us, and they are suffering. By Allah, this is unbearable, unbearable. … it does not befit the prisoners’ sacrifice that it be like this,” she said.
In late May, PLO Commissioner for Prisoners’ Affairs Qadri Abu Bakr told the Palestinian newspaper Al-Hadath: “Three months ago we refused paying the salaries of the prisoners and released prisoners through the post office, and we demanded to find another mechanism that is clear and practical for their payment. We were promised that the payment through the post office would be a one-time thing, but that did not happen.”
Abu Bakr told the paper that the post office was working on making preloaded ATM cards available, but that it hadn’t happened yet.
According to Al-Hadath, the failure to provide an alternative has prompted a “wave of rage over the manner of payment, which is considered humiliating and degrading from the prisoners’ perspective.”
Despite this, the PLO Families of the Martyrs and Wounded Institution announced in early June that the payments this month would again be through the post office, and that if necessary the branches would also be opened specially on the following Saturday to facilitate payments, according to PMW.
“While the P.A. initially indicated to the new Biden administration that it would abolish its terror rewarding ‘Pay-for-Slay’ policy, the reality is that the policy continues unabated, in direct breach of the Taylor Force Act,” said PMW Head of Legal Strategies Maurice Hirsch.