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September 6, 2016 5:04 am

Palestinian Payments to Terrorists Are in the News — But Not at the BBC

avatar by Hadar Sela

Email a copy of "Palestinian Payments to Terrorists Are in the News — But Not at the BBC" to a friend
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

The Times of Israel’s Raphael Ahren reports:

The German government has for the first time admitted that the Palestinian Authority likely grants financial support to terrorists and their families, and vowed to further investigate the matter.

Following repeated queries by an opposition lawmaker, the Foreign Ministry in Berlin last week also acknowledged that funds for so-called “martyrs” and Palestinian prisoners sitting in Israeli jails for security-related offenses come not only from the Palestine Liberation Organization but partially from the PA’s own budget. […]

“If it is confirmed that parts of these described payments [to Palestinian security prisoners or their families] comes from the Palestinian Authority’s budget, the Federal Government will take the matter up with the Palestinian Authority and other partners,” the document states. “The Palestinian Authority and the PLO are called upon to take all necessary steps against the incitement of violence and to increase its efforts in the fight against terrorism.”

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The article includes a recap of the history of this issue.

In 2014, PA President Mahmoud Abbas — who is also the head of the PLO — closed the PA’s Ministry of Detainees and Ex-Detainees Affairs and converted it into a commission directly subordinate to the PLO.

“The aim of this deliberately misleading move was to alleviate pressure on the PA by donor countries that do not wish their money to be channeled to support terrorism,” Yigal Carmon, the president of the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), told the US House of Representatives’ Committee on Foreign Affairs in July. “However, the offices remained the same and the official in charge remained the same under a new job title. The source of the money remains the PA, which receives them from donor countries, and the overseeing body remains none other than the PA.”

In that same testimony, Yigal Carmon also gave US representatives an idea of the sums involved in the payments to convicted terrorists and “families of martyrs.”

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has stressed more than once that “the prisoners are top priority.” As a result of this commitment, the PA invests significant sums in underwriting the expenses of the prisoners and their families – $137.8 million according to the PA’s 2016 budget (about 7% of which is for officials’ salaries and operating expenses). […]

The 2016 budget describes the PLO’s Institute for Care for the Families of Martyrs as the body “responsible for ensuring a dignified life to the families of all those martyred and wounded as a result of being participants or bystanders in the revolution.”

It is allocated just under $173 million ($172,534,733) for families of martyrs and the wounded within the homeland and outside it. The Institute’s operating expenses comes to about $1.5 million.

This issue is obviously not only of interest to the government and the public in Germany, but also to taxpayers in the many additional countries that donate aid to the Palestinian Authority — including, of course, Britain. Additionally, familiarity with this issue is key to understanding both the eternal PA budget deficit and the background to Palestinian terrorism. Nevertheless, it is a topic that has long been ignored  and remains firmly off the agenda of the self-described“standard-setter for international journalism.” BBC audiences around the world — and not least the corporation’s funding British public — must surely be asking why.

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