The Palestinian Authority has publicized its monthly expenditures for the first five months of 2019.

The figures show that the P.A. has paid no less than NIS 234,172,000 (more than $65 million), or, on average, NIS 46,834,400 per month, in salaries to terrorist prisoners (including released prisoners).

According to Itamar Marcus, the director of Israeli NGO Palestinian Media Watch, “Based on this average, the P.A.’s expenditures on salaries to terrorist prisoners in 2019 should reach NIS 562 million [$158 million], as compared to NIS 502 million [$141 million] in 2018. This amounts to an 11.8 percent increase.”

The 2018 figure is based on data published by the P.A. Finance Ministry.

Immediately after Israel started deducting from the P.A.’s 2019 tax income the amount the P.A. spent in 2018 on salaries to terrorists, the P.A. stopped publishing monthly budget updates, which it had done since 2014.

According to PMW, after not releasing budget data for three months the P.A. Finance Ministry has now resumed monthly publication, but annual budgets for the years 2014-18 have been removed from the ministry’s website, and the 2019 budget has not been published.

However, according to Marcus the updates from the first five months of 2019 are sufficient to show that the P.A. is indeed prioritizing payments to terrorist prisoners and the families of “martyrs.”

This is in line with multiple public statements by P.A. leader Mahmoud Abbas and other P.A. officials. In March, Abbas stated on official P.A. TV that “the Palestinian Authority will continue to support them [terrorists and their families] even if takes the last financial resources that we have.”

To read more, visit the PMW website.