(March 28, 2018 / Palestinian Media Watch)
– 7.47 percent of the P.A.’s operational budget is for salaries to terrorist prisoners, released terrorists, and payments to families of “martyrs” and the wounded
– The P.A. has two budget categories rewarding terror; together they equal 44 percent of anticipated foreign aid
- Total P.A. 2018 operational budget: NIS 16.559 billion ($4.76 billion)
- Salaries to terrorist prisoners: NIS 550 million ($158 million)
- Payments to families of “martyrs” and wounded: NIS 687 million ($197 million)
- Total expenditure in budget categories rewarding terror: NIS 1.237 billion ($355 million)
- For comparison: The P.A. Ministry of Health, which serves the entire population of 5 million, has a budget of NIS 1.787 billion, a mere 44 percent more than NIS 1.237 billion serving the recipients in the two budget categories rewarding terror
Salaries to terrorist prisoners
For 2018, the P.A. budget for the Commission of Prisoners’ Affairs, which pays salaries to all terrorist prisoners and released prisoners, is NIS 581 million ($166 million). Of this, NIS 550 million ($158 million) is for salaries to terrorist prisoners and released terrorists.
Payments to families of “martyrs” and the wounded
The budget for the Families of the Martyrs and Wounded Institution is NIS 696 million ($200 million). Of this, NIS 687 million ($197 million) is for payments to families of the so-called “martyrs” and wounded. The families of “martyrs” receiving these monthly payments include the families of all Palestinian suicide bombers and other terrorists killed while attacking and murdering Israelis and tourists. For example, the family of the terrorist Bashar Masalha who murdered American student Taylor Force receives this monthly payment. The category for “martyrs” and wounded also includes some non-combatants; however, the P.A. has not publicized those numbers or names.
Total P.A. expenditure on salaries to terrorists and “martyrs” and wounded in 2018 is 7.47 percent of the budget.
The total amount of these P.A. payments in the two terror reward categories comes to NIS 1.237 billion ($355 million), which is 7.47 percent of the P.A.’s operational budget of NIS 16.559 billion ($4.76 billion).
P.A. stops using intermediary to pay salaries to terrorists and now pays directly.
It is very significant that for the first time since 2014, the P.A. has stopped attempting to hide that it is the P.A. that pays salaries to all the terrorist prisoners. This year, the P.A. openly lists the budget for these salaries to the Commission of Prisoners as a direct P.A. budget expense (listed as “transfer payments”). In 2014, after Palestinian Media Watch showed the U.S. Congress, the E.U. and many European parliaments that the P.A. was using donor money to pay salaries to terrorist prisoners, the P.A. closed its Ministry of Prisoners’ Affairs and lied to the international community, saying a new PLO Commission of Prisoners’ Affairs was paying the salaries from non-P.A. sources.
PMW then exposed that the P.A. was actually transferring the money to the Palestinian National Fund (PNF), which then transferred the money to the PLO commission, which paid the terrorists. This proved that the salaries for terrorist prisoners were paid with P.A. money. This brought donor outrage, leading to the Taylor Force Act in the United States and measures by other governments. However, now, the P.A.’s budget for 2018 has revealed that the P.A. has resumed paying the salaries to terrorists directly to the commission.
The P.A.’s direct payments of salaries to terrorists mean that the P.A., by Israeli criteria, is a terrorist organization.
In March 2017, Israel’s Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman declared the Palestinian National Fund a terror organization. This was because it, and not the P.A., was the one directly paying the PLO Commission of Prisoners’ Affairs, which paid the salaries to the terrorist prisoners. The P.A., which was the source of the money, was not declared a terror organization because the actual payments were made by the PNF.
As stated above, in the P.A.’s 2018 budget, the payments for salaries to terrorist prisoners are now listed as coming directly from the P.A. to the Commission of Prisoners’ Affairs. The PNF is no longer the intermediary. In the P.A. budget this year, the P.A. allocates directly to the Commission of Prisoners’ Affairs NIS 550 million as “transfer payments,” which are the salaries to terrorists. It was these identical “transfer payments” by the PNF in 2017 that caused Lieberman to declare the PNF a terror organization. The following is the Israeli Ministry of Defense’s explanation:
List of declarations and orders regarding terror organizations and unlawful associations:
P.A.’s former Minister of Prisoners’ Affairs confirmed PMW reports.
The P.A.’s former Minister of Prisoners’ Affairs Ashraf Al-Ajrami recently confirmed PMW’s findings that the P.A.was trying to hide its terror payments from donor countries. Al-Ajrami appeared as a defense witness for the P.A. in a lawsuit on behalf of the family of a terror victim which is suing the P.A. In his testimony, when being cross-examined by the Head of PMW Legal Strategies Adv. Maurice Hirsch, Al-Ajrami admitted that the closing of the Ministry of Prisoners’ Affairs and the creation of the PLO Commission of Prisoners’ Affairs instead, was done to deceive the international community, which did not want the P.A. to use their money to pay salaries to terrorists and families of “martyrs”:
Hirsch: “Does the Palestinian Authority pay the salaries to the prisoners from its own money, from its account?”
Hirsch: “Yes? … I looked at the 2017 budget of the Palestinian Authority and I didn’t see that; I saw a transfer to the PLO, because that’s what the Palestinian Authority announced in 2014—that it no longer pays salaries to the prisoners. What is the identity of the body that pays the salaries? The Palestinian Authority from an official account of the Palestinian Authority, or another body?”
PMW will continue to follow, expose and report on the P.A.’s financial rewards to terrorists, and will continue to supply governments around the world with the latest information.
Note about the P.A. 2018 budget:
The P.A. lists the operational budget for all of its ministries and activities as NIS 16.559 billion. In addition, it lists in another place in its budget the figure of NIS 18.089 billion. Above, PMW used the NIS 16.559 billion figure because it is the budget for all of the P.A.’s operations. The P.A. does not specify the use of the extra money, but it may be for repayment of loans and debts.