Despite protestations to the contrary, the Palestinian Authority continues to incite its population to violence against Israel and Jews, this time with the unwitting financial backing of the US and other foreign powers.
A report released by Israel’s Prime Minister’s Office shows that the PA provides substantial ongoing stipends to imprisoned terrorists on a sliding scale, dependent on the length of their imprisonment. Likewise, it confers other benefits to said prisoners upon their release. Much of this is made possible by funding provided by the US and other foreign governments.
The Palestinian Prisoner’s Law, updated by the PA in 2010, provides monthly salaries to Palestinian terrorists held in Israeli jails. These salaries start at NIS 1,400 (about $400) monthly, and can rise to as much as NIS 12,000 ($3,500), based on the length of the prison sentence. Additionally, the PA covers the inmates’ families’ living expenses for the duration of the prison term.
The Palestinians relate to these payments as salaries, not as welfare or social aid. Qadura Fares, a former PA minister and current Chairman of the Prisoners’ Club stated on PA TV: “What is spent on the prisoners is exactly what is spent on me and you. These are salaries. Therefore, when the salaries are paid to those working in government offices and institutions, they will also be paid to the prisoners.”
Besides the monthly salaries, upon their release, these terrorists are awarded a grant by the PA. The grant, too, ranges from $1,500 to $25,000, depending on the sentence, although there are reports of grants reaching as high as $60,000. Similar arrangements are not offered to Palestinians held on other criminal charges.
The PA offers other incentives to released terrorists, as well. They are promoted within military or civil service ranks, again dependent on the length of their prison terms. Therefore, those who served at least 25 years in prison are awarded the equivalent rank of Major-General in the security forces or of a Deputy Minister in the PA, both of which earn monthly wages of nearly $4,000. A 2013 regulation also gives released terrorists priority over other candidates for official positions. If no suitable position is found, some qualify for severance packages and unemployment benefits.
Among the former prisoners now collecting substantial rewards from the PA are Issa Abed Rabbo, who shot to death two young Hebrew University students hiking near Bethlehem in 1984; Abu-Musa Atia, who used an ax to murder Isaac Rotenberg, a Holocaust survivor who had escaped from the Sobibor death camp; Yusef Hazaa, who murdered two Israeli teachers, one of them a 19-year-old volunteer; and Sualha Husseini and Almajed Mahmed, who carried out a stabbing attack on a crowded bus, killing 24-year-old Baruch Heizler and wounding three young women.
Hamas terrorist Ziad Awad was released in the Shalit deal and arrested recently for the murderer of Baruch Mizrahi on Passover eve. He received a salary from the Palestinian Authority during his first imprisonment, then was given a freed terrorist’s salary after his release. Economy Minister Naftali Bennett (Jewish Home) said, “Now his conditions will again be improved in Abu Mazen’s (Abbas) ‘preferred employment’ scheme – after all, he murdered a Jew and has returned to prison. Amazing. The system is simple,” Bennett explained. “With one hand, Abu Mazen ‘condemns’ the abduction, of course, and with the other, which hands out cash for terrorism, he encourages it.”
All this adds up to significant incentivization of terror. Back in August, for example, Husni Najjar of Hebron plotted a terror attack which he claimed he had no intention of carrying out, just so he could be arrested for a crime that carried a minimum sentence of five years.
“Because of my difficult financial situation, as I told you, I decided to arrange an imaginary plan for the Shin Bet [security service] so that I will be arrested and receive more than five years in prison in order to receive a steady salary as a stipend from the PA in order to cover my debts and pay for my wedding,” he said.
According to the report from the Prime Minister’s office, in 2012 alone, the PA spent the equivalent of over 16 percent of the total foreign aid it received on terrorist salaries, benefits, and stipends to the families of deceased terrorists. This figure, says the report, reflects only official transfers by the Ministry of Prisoners. It does not include any additional transfers from other bodies, such as the Ministry for Welfare and PA official funds (which lack transparency).
Because the US is the largest provider of financial aid to the cash-strapped PA, many see it as complicit in the PA’s incitement scheme. A petition titled “No Taxes for Terror” urges the US government to stop funding terror.
“The Palestinian Authority [PA] pays high salaries and good benefits to convicted terrorists in Israeli prisons. The more horrific the crime and the more Israelis or Americans murdered, the higher the salary and the better the benefits. But where does the cash-strapped PA get the money for terrorists? Much of it comes from your tax dollars. The PA budget is heavily dependent on foreign aid—and the U.S. is the PA’s largest single country donor,” states the petition.