By the time a Palestinian terrorist spends 20 years in prison, he or she will have been paid by the Palestinian Authority a cumulative sum of approximately NIS 1,118,400.
Upon release, P.A. law allows terrorists jailed for more than 20 years to purchase a car tax-free. In Israel, a Ferrari 458 Spider costs NIS 1 million before tax. Accordingly, when released from prison, a Palestinian terrorist has accrued enough “blood money, among other things, to buy a Ferrari.
The exemption from paying tax on a new car is just one of the many financial rewards the P.A. pays to the terrorist prisoners and to the families of dead terrorists.
Benefits for terrorist prisoners
The following are additional benefits that terrorist prisoners receive under P.A. law and implementing regulations (2004 P.A. Law of Prisoners and Released Prisoners and P.A. government regulations from 2010 and 2013):
  • A monthly salary that starts at NIS 1,400/month and rises to 12,000 shekels according to the amount of time the terrorist stays in prison.
  • The monthly salary payments are based on the cumulative periods a terrorist spends in prison. Accordingly, if a prisoner spent three years in prison, was released, and then was imprisoned again for additional terrorist acts, his salary during the second period of incarceration starts at 2,000 shekels/month (see chart above).
  • Terrorist prisoners who were employed by the P.A. at the time of their arrest are entitled to continue to receive their original P.A. salary and will continue to enjoy the rises in the PA pay scales so long as their salary outside prison was higher than the regular terrorist salary pay scale. If their “civilian” salary was lower, they are entitled to the higher terrorist salary.
  • In addition, terrorist prisoners are entitled to have university degrees funded by the P.A.
  • The children of terrorist prisoners are exempt from paying elementary and high school fees in P.A. schools.
  • The children of male terrorist prisoners who were sentenced to 20 years imprisonment and have spent at least five years in prison and children of female terrorist prisoners who were sentenced to at least 10 years in prison and have spent at least three years in prison are entitled to an 80 percent reduction in university fees.
Benefits for released terrorist prisoners
The benefits enjoyed by the terrorist prisoners do not end upon their release. Rather, according to the P.A. law and implementing regulations, released terrorist prisoners continue to receive substantial benefits and are entitled to:
  • An immediate one-time grant ranging from $1,500 to $25,000 depending on the time spent in prison.
  • Terrorist prisoners who spent between one to five years in prison are entitled to “unemployment benefits” for a period comparable to the time spent in prison.
  • Released male terrorist prisoners who spent five to 10 years in prison and released female terrorist prisoners who spent two to five years in prison are entitled to preferential consideration for employment by the P.A., but even in the absence of any position being available, they are entitled to a monthly salary.
  • Released male terrorist prisoners who spent 10 years or more in prison and released female terrorist prisoners who spent 5 years or more in prison are entitled to a monthly salary based on the pay scale of P.A. public servants. They are only required to fill a position if specifically called on to do so.
  • Released male terrorist prisoners who spent five years in prison and released female terrorist prisoners who spent three years in prison are entitled to free university studies (unless they used this benefit while in prison); an exemption from health tax; and an exemption from professional training course fees.
  • Released male terrorist prisoners who spent five years in prison and released female terrorist prisoners who spent three years in prison are entitled to have the university fees of one of their children covered by the P.A.
  • Released terrorist prisoners who spent 20 years in prison are entitled to purchase a car free from tax (P.A. Law 2014)

Benefits for families of dead terrorists

The payments to the families of dead terrorists (“Martyrs”) are not set in law, but rather are based on internal regulations which the P.A. refuses to publish or provide (even when their representatives are specifically asked to do so in court). Nonetheless, PMW has gathered substantial information from official P.A. media, affidavits submitted by the P.A. to court, and the P.A.’s annual budget that shows that the families of dead terrorists are paid:
  • A one-time grant of 6,000 shekels.
  • A monthly allowance with additions for those who were married or had children or were residents of Jerusalem or other parts of Israel.
In addition to these payments, the 2018 P.A. budget also provides the following benefits for the families of “Martyrs,” including but not limited to the terrorist “Martyrs”:
  • Financial aid to 350 families.
  • Insurance for 28,000 families.
  • 700 grants for academic studies.
  • 500 grants for trips to Mecca.
  • School fees for 40,300 children.

In July this year, Israel’s parliament passed new legislation to combat the P.A. practice of paying monthly salaries to terrorist prisoners and a monthly allowance to the families of deceased terrorists—the so-called “Martyrs.”

Similar to the American Taylor Force Act, which passed in March and calls to cut almost all funding to the P.A. if it continues paying salaries to terrorists, the Israeli law declares that the payment of salaries to terrorist prisoners and allowances to the families of deceased terrorists is a “financial incentive to terrorism.” For the financial year of 2018, the P.A. allocated 1.2 billion shekels (7 percent of its entire budget) to pay these financial incentives to terrorism.

The new law requires Israel’s Minister of Defense to prepare an annual report detailing the total annual expenditure of the P.A. on the terrorist salaries and other terror related payments. Once the report is approved by the Ministerial Committee for National Security, the Israeli Government will deduct a sum equivalent to the annual P.A. expenditure from the tax revenues Israel collects and transfers to the P.A.

As noted above, the full extent of the P.A.’s financial incentives to terrorism extend far beyond the payment of the salaries to the terrorist prisoners and released prisoners and the allowances to the families of deceased terrorists. Accordingly, in order to assist the Israeli government to make accurate calculations, Palestinian Media Watch prepared and sent to the relevant authorities a comprehensive document detailing the different payments to which the terrorists and their families are entitled according to P.A. law and practice.

Whether terrorists want to buy Ferraris or not, the comprehensive nature of the financial benefits paid by the P.A. to terrorist prisoners, released terrorists and the families of terrorist “Martyrs” clearly provides the basis for arguing that these payments are a financial incentive to terrorism.

In many cases, the salaries and financial benefits paid to the terrorists exceed the salaries and other benefits paid to regular P.A. employees.