Palestinian Authority Still Pays Millions to Terrorists and Uses Foreign Aid to Do So
The Palestinian Authority (PA) transferred over $135 million to imprisoned terrorists in 2018, Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) reports.
Based on open-source information and the PA’s own budget, PMW broke down PA terror payments into various categories. More than $62 million was sent to terrorists while they were in jail, while almost $48 million was paid to released prisoners. Roughly $26 million was used to pay other terrorist-related salaries and additional benefits.
PA security personnel jailed on terrorism charges continue to receive higher salaries from a different budget than other prisoners, which underestimates the overall figure of payments transferred to jailed terrorists.
Payments are a function of the severity of the attack and prison sentence. The more brutal the attack or murder, the more money a Palestinian prisoner receives. Prisoners with previous arrests receive more money as well.
These figures do not include other forms of PA support to Palestinian terrorists, such as payments to the families of “martyrs,” or dead terrorists.
Israel’s Knesset passed legislation last July to impose structured sanctions targeting the PA for its financial incentives to murder program, which promotes violence against Israelis. The PMW report was sent to Israel’s Ministry of Defense to help the government with their annual assessment of the PA’s terror payments.
Last year, senior Palestinian officials, including PA President Mahmoud Abbas, issued defiant assurances that they would not end the payments.
Qadri Abu Bakr, who directs the Palestine Liberation Organization’s Commission of Prisoners’ Affairs “emphasized that the leadership … will continue to support the resolve of the prisoners and their families and will not succumb to the Israeli and American pressures calling to stop the Martyrs’ (Shahids) and prisoners’ salaries (rawatib) and allowances (mukhassasat).”
“By Allah, even if we have only a penny left, it will only be spent on the families of the Martyrs and the prisoners, and only afterwards will it be spent on the rest of the people,” Abbas said on official PA TV last July, adding that “martyrs and prisoners” are “stars in the sky,” and these terrorists “have priority in everything.”
These statements reaffirm that the PA places more emphasis on taking care of Palestinians convicted of attacking Israelis than other sectors of Palestinian society. In fact, terrorists and their families receive far higher payments than welfare recipients.
Despite international pressure to halt this practice, roughly half of the foreign aid that the PA receives is allocated for payments to terrorist inmates and the “families of martyrs.”
Steven Emerson is considered one of the leading authorities on Islamic extremist networks, financing, and operations. He serves as the Executive Director of The Investigative Project on Terrorism, a non-profit organization that serves one of the world’s largest storehouses of archival data and intelligence on Islamic and Middle Eastern terrorist groups.