The Palestinian Authority is disbursing stipends worth thousands of shekels to hundreds of Israeli citizens involved in terrorist operations, and to their relatives.

According to an investigation conducted by the Israeli defense establishment at the request of Israel Hayom, those receiving the benefits are serving prison terms either for conducting or assisting terrorist attacks, or for acting against the state in other ways. In the event that the terrorists were killed while carrying out their attacks, the payments are transferred to their relatives.

Payments range from 1,400 shekels ($436) to 12,000 shekels ($3,742) depending on the type of operation, the number of people murdered and the length of the sentence handed down. Beyond the stipend itself, the prisoners and their families receive additional benefits as well.

According to Palestinian Authority law, anyone who has murdered a Jew receives a salary for life.

Payments are made according to a set tariff published by the P.A. for residents of Judea and Samaria. Under P.A. law, the payments continue even after the terrorist has been released from jail. The Israeli defense establishment has confirmed that the P.A. disburses these stipends to all terrorists, regardless of organizational affiliation. In other words, the P.A., which is controlled by the PLO, also makes payments to terrorists who are members of Hamas or the Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

The defense establishment is aware that receipt of such stipends from a foreign entity is problematic from a legal standing and constitutes a catalyst for terrorism. However, Israeli law protects the financial privacy of all citizens, and therefore the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) and other defense organizations rely on intelligence tools to find out who the Israelis are who benefit from terrorist stipends.

“Unfortunately, we cannot provide a precise figure for the number of Israeli citizens and residents who receive payments from the Palestinian Authority,” said the Defense Ministry.

A security source told Israel Hayom that quiet operations are ongoing to seize these funds, and that the sums are deducted from tax payments collected for and transferred to the Palestinian Authority.

A PLO trick

In recent years, the P.A. has come under heavy pressure from the international community to stop paying salaries to terrorists. With bipartisan support, in 2018 the U.S. Congress passed the Taylor Force Act, that prohibits economic support for the Palestinian Authority as long as it continues to pay stipends to terrorists and their families.

The Palestinians have tried to circumvent the law in several ways in order to continue making the payments. They moved the payment system from the P.A. to the PLO and also tried giving jobs in the P.A. to relatives of terrorists. The Palestinians also tried claiming that the stipends are elementary social security payments—a claim that does not sit with the fact that when an Israeli citizen has committed an act of terrorism, they continue to receive payments from Israel’s National Insurance Institute.

Meanwhile, government sources told Israel Hayom that P.A. President Mahmoud Abbas recently promised the United States that the families of terrorists who carried out the most recent wave of attacks in Israel will not receive terror stipends. A spokesperson for the U.S. Embassy said: “We do not comment on statements made in private conversations.”

In another development, Israeli State Comptroller Matanyahu Englman said yesterday that the government is not using all the tools at its disposal, including deducting funds transferred to the P.A.

Speaking at the College of Management, Englman said: “There is a simple and effective tool that the State of Israel is not employing in the battle against terrorism: Filing civil suits against terrorists, be they residents of Israel or Palestinians… In such a case this can be done by deducting from funds transferred to the Palestinian Authority.”

This article first appeared in Israel Hayom.

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