Editors NoteThe Guardian article shows that the Palestinian practice of giving ‘salaries’ to Palestinians in prison for having committed a terrorist act or was a martyr was known in 2013 as ‘social welfare’ payments. In 2017 the Knesset (Israeli Parliament) was told that these payments were $1 billion over the past four years. High Palestinian unemployment has shown that this was one way of receiving a high salary and on release from prison being admired and found work or on death going to heaven and receiving benefits.
The money to pay for this comes primarily from Western Aid to the Palestinian government, largely by Western countries, In 2016 a survey was to be carried out by the British government to find out whether this was true.
In 2014 The UK government issued ‘The UK's Development Work in the Occupied Palestinian Territories - International Development Committee Contents’ which showed that they knew of this practice and excused it on the grounds of ‘welfare payments’. They also discuss UNWRA and the valuable contribution they make. See Reassessing UNWRA. For many years opinion has been that it should be abolished and its functions split between the appropriate Arab state where it functions and UNHCR so they will be on the same basis as refugees from elsewhere. A major source of opposition to this is the management of UNWRA, many of whom will lose their jobs and local politicians who want to retain it for personal reasons.
The USA is the biggest regular donor to the Palestinians/UNWRA. These Acts are the Taylor Force Act, that would cut US funding to the Palestinian Authority unless it discontinues its practice of paying monthly stipends to the families of terrorists who kill Israelis. The Hamas Human Shields Prevention Act, which cleared the panel with broad bipartisan support, would sanction foreign governments, entities, and individuals for providing financial and material support to the terrorist group Hamas, while the Palestinian International Terrorism Support Prevention Act would also impose sanctions on foreign governments and entities that support Palestinian terrorism. See also UNWRA and USA
PALESTINIANS PAID TERRORISTS $1B IN PAST 4 YEARS, KNESSET PANEL HEARS
Day after reports of Trump shouting at Abbas about incitement, former top official dismisses PA claims that it is making 'social welfare' payments, saying they are presented as 'salaries' in Palestinian budget documents
The Palestinian Authority has paid out some NIS 4 billion — or $1.12 billion — over the past four years to terrorists and their families, a former director general of the Ministry of Strategic Affairs and ex-head of the army’s intelligence and research division told a top Knesset panel on Monday.
Setting out the figures, Brig.-Gen (res.) Yossi Kuperwasser told the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee that the longer the period for which a Palestinian security prisoner is jailed, “the higher the salary… Anyone who has sat in prison for more than 30 years gets NIS 12,000 ($3,360) per month,
” said Kuperwasser, according to the (Hebrew) NRG website. “When they’re released, they get a grant and are promised a job at the Palestinian Authority. They get a military rank that’s determined according to the number of years they’ve served in jail.”
Kuperwasser also told the committee that PA claims that the payments to terrorists’ families are social welfare benefits to the needy are false. The Palestinians’ own budgetary documents, he said, “clearly state that these are salaries and not welfare payments.”
Kuperwasser was briefing MKs days after US President Donald Trump visited Israel and held talks with PA President Mahmoud Abbas in Bethlehem. In an apparent public upbraiding of Abbas over the payments, Trump told him at their joint press conference: “Peace can never take root in an environment where violence is tolerated, funded or rewarded.”
Israel’s Channel 2 TV reported on Sunday night that, behind closed doors in Bethlehem, Trump fumed at Abbas for lying to him. “You tricked me in DC! You talked there about your commitment to peace, but the Israelis showed me your involvement in incitement [against Israel],” Trump was said to have shouted at a shocked Abbas.
The TV report said the outburst was followed by several minutes of silence from the Palestinians, and that the meeting was very tense before the two sides managed to get back on track.
Palestinian sources denied the report, saying the meeting was good and to the point. And the Palestinian Ma’an news agency quoted a PA official on Monday accusing Israeli media of “lying” about what went on in the talks in order to torpedo a return to the negotiating table “because the Israelis don’t want to achieve peace.”
The Israel Hayom daily on Monday quoted an unnamed Palestinian official offering further details of the alleged stormy confrontation, however. This official said the talks “started on a positive note,” but the meeting “deteriorated after Trump accused Abbas of supporting incitement and terrorism with the salaries paid to prisoners.”
According to this report, “Trump made it clear to Abbas that he must curb anti-Israeli incitement in the Palestinian education system, saying Abbas cannot turn a blind eye to Palestinian incitement and pay stipends to terrorists’ families while simultaneously setting conditions that hinder any progress in the peace talks.”
Abbas reportedly responded that “in the past, there was a joint Palestinian-Israeli committee that sought to deal with incitement on both sides, but it has not met for years. As for the prisoners’ stipends, those are paid by the PLO’s prisoner authority, not the Palestinian government.”
At this point, according to the Israel Hayom report, “Trump lost his patience and interrupted Abbas, banging his fist on the table and admonishing him, saying, ‘You can talk about how much you want peace, but that’s empty [rhetoric].'”
At the Knesset meeting on Monday, Kuperwasser, today a project director at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs think tank, said that for many years the US and Israel had largely ignored the significance of the payments and that it only became a major issue in the last six months. Now the US Congress is pushing punitive legislation — the Taylor Force Act. The PA channels the payments indirectly, via a non-government “payment fund,” he said.
“There was a willingness to believe the lies that it was social support. In practice, no steps have been taken to change the situation and in the meantime, the Palestinians are trying to depict themselves as supporting peace while they are still paying the families of terrorists,” said Kuperwasser. “Assurance of a cash prize for acts of terror is encouragement to terrorism, and is against international law, international conventions, the Oslo accords, and other agreements that they have signed on.”
The committee’s chairman, Avi Dichter (Likud), said he would schedule a session with top-tier security and political officials to review what action Israel should take in response to what he said was continued Palestinian incitement to terror.
Dichter, a former director of the Shin Bet security service, declared: “The State of Israel cannot get involved in a political process aimed at peace when those who are supposed to be our partners incite [to terror]. For years, not only has it [incitement] not decreased, it has increased.”
Israel has long accused the Palestinians, including Abbas’s Fatah party, of fanning hatred on social media and calling for violence against Israelis.
At Monday’s Knesset committee meeting, Dore Gold, a former Foreign Ministry director-general, said Israel’s opposition to terror payments had not been made sufficiently clear since he left his post in October 2016. “The idea that a body such as the Palestinian Authority pays money as compensation to families who lost their sons as they were engaged in terror is unacceptable and contradicts common sense. Former US secretary of state Colin Powell called it ‘providing an incentive to terrorism,'” he said.
Haim Jelin (Yesh Atid) criticized the government, saying, “There is a lack of willingness to to take steps against the Palestinian Authority. They’re frightened of an escalation or that the PA will collapse, or that it won’t look good to Muslim communities around the world.”
Moti Yogev (Jewish Home) claimed that Hitler and former Iraqi strongman Saddam Hussein were being held up as role models in the Palestinian education system, and that “little girls in kindergarten declare that the Jews are worse than pigs, that they raped their mothers and murdered their fathers with axes.” Yogev called for economic and security-related sanctions to be imposed on the PA.
Along with criticism, Trump, at his press conference with Abbas, offered praise to the PA leader for being “committed to taking firm but necessary steps to fight terrorism and confront its hateful ideology.
On May 3 in Washington, at the first meeting between the two, Trump urged Abbas to stop incitement, crack down on terrorism, and “resolve” his government’s police of paying stipends to terrorists and their families.
Abbas, for his part, told Trump in their joint White House press conference that “we are raising our youth, our children, our grandchildren on a culture of peace.”
In the wake of that claim, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu slammed Abbas for the remark, saying it was “unfortunately not true.” The PA, Netanyahu charged, “names their schools after mass murderers of Israelis and pay terrorists.”
A report released last month from the Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education (IMPACT-se) group found that PA textbooks for first to fourth grades were demonizing Israel and glorifying “martyrdom.” The document cited an “alarming deterioration” in content since the previous study.
The issue has taken on increasing significance of late, as members of Congress have threatened to decrease US aid to Palestinians if PA-sponsored incitement is not curbed.
HOW BRITISH AND AMERICAN AID SUBSIDISES PALESTINIAN TERRORISM
US and UK taxpayers fund the Palestinian Authority, which in turn funds prisoners in Israeli jails. It's dangerously dysfunctional
On both sides of the pond, in London and Washington, policymakers are struggling to weather their budget crises. Therefore, it may astound American and British taxpayers that the precious dollars and pounds they deploy in Israel and the Occupied Territories funds terrorism.
The instrument of this funding is US and UK programs of aid paid to the Palestinian Authority. This astonishing financial dynamic is known to most Israeli leaders and western journalists in Israel. But it is still a shock to most in Congress and many in Britain's Parliament, who are unaware that money going to the Palestinian Authority is regularly diverted to a program that systematically rewards convicted prisoners with generous salaries. These transactions in fact violate American and British laws that prohibit US funding from benefiting terrorists. More than that, they could be seen as incentivizing murder and terror against innocent civilians.
Here's how the system works. When a Palestinian is convicted of an act of terror against the Israeli government or innocent civilians, such as a bombing or a murder, that convicted terrorist automatically receives a generous salary from the Palestinian Authority. The salary is specified by the Palestinian "law of the prisoner" and administered by the PA's Ministry of Prisoner Affairs. A Palestinian watchdog group, the Prisoners Club, ensures the PA's compliance with the law and pushes for payments as a prioritized expenditure. This means that even during frequent budget shortfalls and financial crisis, the PA PA pays the prisoners' salaries first and foremost – before other fiscal obligations.
The law of the prisoner narrowly delineates just who is entitled to receive an official salary. In a recent interview, Ministry of Prisoners spokesman Amr Nasser read aloud that definition:
A detainee is each and every person who is in an Occupation prison based on his or her participation in the resistance to Occupation.
This means crimes against Israel or Israelis. Nasser was careful to explain:
It does not include common-law thieves and burglars. They are not included and are not part of the mandate of the ministry.
Under a sliding scale, carefully articulated in the law of the prisoner, the more serious the act of terrorism, the longer the prison sentence, and consequently, the higher the salary. Incarceration for
up to three years fetches a salary of almost $400 per month.
Prisoners behind bars for between three and five years will be paid about $560 monthly – a compensation level already higher than that for many ordinary West Bank jobs.
Sentences of ten to 15 years fetch salaries of about $1,690 per month.
Still worse acts of terrorism against civilians, punished with sentences between 15 and 20 years, earn almost $2,000 per month.
These are the best salaries in the Palestinian territories. The Arabic word ratib, meaning "salary", is the official term for this compensation. The law ensures the greatest financial reward for the most egregious acts of terrorism.
In the Palestinian community, the salaries are no secret; they are publicly hailed in public speeches and special TV reports. The New York Times and the Times of Israel have both mentioned the mechanism in passing. Only British and American legislators seem to be uninformed about the payments.
From time to time, the salaries are augmented with special additional financial incentives. For example, in 2009, a $150-per-prisoner bonus was approved to mark the religious holiday of Eid al-Adha. President Mahmoud Abbas also directed that an extra $190 "be added to the stipends given to Palestinians affiliated with PLO factions in Israeli prisons this month". Reporting on the additional emolument, the Palestinian news service Ma'an explained:
Each PLO-affiliated prisoner [already] receives [a special allocation of] $238 per month, plus an extra $71 if they are married, and an extra $12 for each child. The stipend is paid by the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) each month.
About 6% of the Palestinian budget is diverted to prisoner salaries. All this money comes from so-called "donor countries" such as the United States, Great Britain, Norway, and Denmark. Palestinian officials have reacted with defiance to any foreign governmental effort to end the salaries. Deputy Minister of Prisoners Affairs Ziyad Abu Ein declared to satellite TV network Hona Al-Quds:
If the financial assistance and support to the PA are stopped, the [payment of] salaries (Rawatib) and allowances (Mukhassasat) to Palestinian prisoners will not be stopped, whatever the cost may be. The prisoners are our joy. We will sacrifice everything for them and continue to provide for their families.
Many believe foreign aid is an investment in peace between the warring parties in Israel and disputed lands. That investment might have a greater chance for success if terrorism did not pay as well as it does – with taxpayers footing the bill.
The Palestinian Authority Martyrs Fund is a fund operated by the Palestinian Authority for the purpose of paying a monthly cash stipend to the families of Palestinians killed, injured or imprisoned for involvement in attacking, assisting in attacking, or planning to attack Israel, or for other types of politically-inspired violence, including riots, violent demonstrations, and throwing rocks, and also for paying cash stipends to the families of innocent bystanders killed during violent events. In addition, it provides pocket money to all Palestinians imprisoned in Israeli jails for ordinary crimes.
The Fund traces its origins to a fund created by Fatah in 1964 to support the widows and orphans of Palestinian fedayeen.
The Palestine Mujahidin and Martyrs Fund was established in 1964 by Fatah to recompense the families of dead and wounded militants. In 1971 it was replaced by the Society for the Care of Palestinian Martyrs and Prisoners. The Society defined as "military martyrs" not only as Palestinian fedayeen killed during terrorist operations, but to include fedayeen who died of natural causes while on active service. Their families received cash stipends. Non-members of the Palestine Liberation Organization killed during any kind of encounter with Israeli security forces were given a one-time payment; this created an incentive for families to apply posthumously to have their dead relatives reclassified as fighters.
SAMED, the Palestine Martyrs Works Society, was founded in 1970; it handled some of the "martyr payments and provided employment in the Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon in the 1970s.
The payments were routinized during the Second Intifada (2000–2005). In 2016, it made payments to 35,000 families, including the families of suicide bombers, from a 2016 annual budget of $170 million. The stipend is higher than the average Palestinian wage.
The question of whether militants from all political factions will receive Palestinian Authority subsidies has been highly contested within Palestinian society; President Mahmoud Abbas withdrew, then in 2009 restored, subsidies for prisoners belonging to the Palestinian Liberation Organization, but this government claims that it does not pay subsidies to families of prisoners belonging to Hamas or Islamic Jihad.
In 2010 (or 2014), mounting criticism of the stipends caused the Palestinian Authority to return management of the Martyrs Fund to the Palestine Liberation Organization, which now disburses the government-funding to terrorists and their families.
The fund is often referred to as the Martyrs Fund, and, pejoratively, as "Pay for Slay."
The a series of funding agencies have existed over the decades, including "Fund for Families of Martyrs and the Injured."
In 2017, half of the $693 million that the PA receives as foreign aid, $345 million, was paid out as stipends to convicted terrorists and their families
The funding system pays regular stipends to individuals and to the surviving families of individuals who carry out terrorist attacks, including suicide bombers, against Israelis and their survivors, and to individuals injured in violent demonstrations and riots and in mob attacks on Israeli civilians or security forces.The agencies that disburse the funds employ over 500 bureaucrats.
Funds are dispersed via separate agencies, one for families of prisoners and the other for the general population, including convicted terrorists released in prisoner exchanges. Both agencies are "PLO institutions," but they are both funded by the Palestinian Authority.
Under the Amended Palestinian Prisoners Law No. 19 (2004), terrorists who have served a year or more in an Israeli prison are entitled upon release to health insurance and tuition free school, university and professional education. If they become civil servants, the law stipulates that the Palestinian Authority will "pay his social security and pension fees . . . for the years he spent in prison.” Incarcerated terrorists are entitled to monthly stipends "linked to the cost-of-living index." The 2013 amendments to the law entitle terrorists released form prison to preference in getting jobs with the Palestinian Authority, and stipulates that the PA "will make up the difference" if the civil service salary "is lower than the salary he received in prison." Female terrorists who have served 2 years in prison, and males who have served 5 are entitled to receive stipends for the rest of their lives.
FOUNDATION FOR THE CARE OF THE FAMILIES OF MARTYRS
The Foundation is dedicated to assisting an Arab who has been "wounded, killed, or otherwise affected as a result of their joining the revolution or the presence of the revolution," against Israel and operates within the Palestinian Authority's Ministry of Social Affairs. In 2016 it supported 35,100 families.
Countering Palestinian Authority claims that this is a welfare fund, the World Bank has stated that, "the program is clearly not targeted to the poorest households. While some assistance should be directed to this population, the level of resources devoted to the Fund for Martyrs and the Injured does not seem justified from a welfare or fiscal perspective."
Stipends are paid to families of both prisoners and Palestinians killed in a contexts ranging from political demonstrations that turn violent where protesters are killed by non-lethal riot control methods (such as being hit by a tear gas cannister) and to individuals imprisoned for "common crimes". The fund also pays $106 a month in "canteen money" to all imprisoned Palestinians, including those imprisoned for non-political crimes such as car theft and drug dealing, for prisoners to spend in the prison canteen.
Families of terrorists killed by Israeli security forces are paid stipends of about $800 to $1,000 per month. The families of convicted terrorists serving time in Israeli prisons receive $3,000 or higher per month. According to Yossi Kuperwasser of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, in 2017 the Palestinian Authority was paying out $300 million annually in terrorism stipends, which tallies to about 7 percent of the Authority's annual budget, and to more than 20% of the total foreign aid donations given to the Authority by all governments.
Douglas J. Feith calls the stipends "cash incentives" to spur Arabs to undertake car ramming and stabbing as a terrorist tactic.
Salam Fayyad, a former Palestinian Authority Prime Minister and Finance Minister, stated that between January 1995 and June 2002 the fund distributed 16 million Israeli shekels to families of prisoners annually, and between June 2002 to June 2004 88.5 million Israeli shekels annually.
In 2017 the National Association of the Martyrs’ Families of Palestine demanded cost of living increases in their stipends, which had been unchanged since 2011.
Private charities including the U.S. based Holyland Foundation have been accused of funding the stipends.
Hamas has operated a separate Martyrs Fund since well before the 2007 insurgent coup d'etat resulting in the Hamas' takeover of Gaza.
In 2001 Sheik Ahmed Yassin, the founder of Hamas, boasted that Hamas payments to the families of prisoners and of suicide bombers totaled between $2 and $3 million. But according to a 2001 Israeli government report, the families of prisoners received an initial lump sum payment of $500 – $5000, with monthly stipends of about $100, with higher payments for the families of Hamas members.[
The Hamas-controlled Unlimited Friends Association for Social Development (UFA) in Gaza is supported by eight registered U.S. charities. By its own account, UFA distributes cash both to the needy and to "the families of martyrs and prisoners," and " “families of martyrs of the Palestinian people."
ATTITUDE OF PALESTINIAN SOCIETY
The "martyr" payments are "exceedingly popular" among Palestinians and have been described as "part of the ethos of Palestinian society."Ziad Asali, founding president of the American Task Force on Palestine, told a reporter that Palestinian politicians and the media have elevated these payments to the point where they are "sacred in Palestinian politics," and no government dares terminate the practice.
Professor Nathan Brown of George Washington University says that the stipends to prisoner's families are "universally supported among Palestinians."
The Palestinian Prisoners' Club defends the stipends, the Club's leader, Qadura Fares, maintains that payments supporting the families of prisoners are just because the families, "are a part of our people" and that "the family did nothing against anyone." According to Fares, the attacks for which the prisoners were convicted are "not terror," but "part of the struggle" against Israel.
In June, 2017, Palestinian Authority President Mahmood Abbas called efforts to stop the martyr payments an "aggression against the Palestinian people," and defended the salaries paid to imprisoned Palestinians as a "social responsibility."
RESPONSE BY GOVERNMENTS
Prime Minister Netanyahu calls the payments "an incentive for murder". The Israeli government, describing the payments as glorifying terrorism, responded to the 2016 killing of Hallel Yaffa Ariel by threatening to deduct the value of "Martyr" payments from the tax revenue it pays to the Palestinian Authority. The United States has threatened to deduct the sums paid out to "martyrs" via the fund from the subsidies it grants to the Palestinian Authority.
A bill introduced in the Israeli Knesset in 2017 would reduce the flow of tax payments collected by Israeli inland revenue on behalf of the Palestinian Authority to the Authority by the sum of annual payouts from the Martyrs Fund
Speaking before the United Nations Security Council on the 24th of June 2017, Israeli ambassador Danny Danon, together with Oran Almog, one of the victims of the Maxim restaurant suicide bombing, demanded that the Palestinian Authority cease incentivizing terrorism by paying stipends to terrorists.
The government of Germany is reviewing the payment of foreign aid to the PA in the light of the use of these funds to incentivize terrorism.
In 2016 Børge Brende, foreign Minister of Norway, demanded that the PA cease using Norwegian foreign aid for "martyr" stipends. He was satisfied with an assurance that Norwegian funds would not be used for the stipends, although the change was purely "cosmetic" since PA funds are fungible.
The Taylor Force Act, a bill proposed in the United States Congress in 2016 would end foreign aid payments to the Palestinian Authority until the payment of stipends to terrorists and their surviving families ends.
TERRORIST ACCUSED OF KILLING A BRITISH STUDENT WILL BE PAID £800 A MONTH BY THE PALESTINIAN GOVERNMENT WHICH RECEIVES £25M-A-YEAR UK FOREIGN AID
Palestinian Jamil Tamimi murdered British theology student Hannah Bladon
He told police that he attacked Hannah in the hope a soldier would kill him
His family qualify for a 'salary' from the Palestinian Authority of £800 a month Palestine receives more than £25 million a year from the UK in foreign aid
A terrorist accused of murdering a British student in Jerusalem will be paid a salary of more than £800 a month by the Palestinian government – which receives more than £25 million a year from the UK in foreign aid.
Jamil Tamimi, who has a history of mental health issues, killed theology student Hannah Bladon in a frenzied knife attack on Good Friday after the 21-year-old gave up her seat on a tram to a woman with a baby.
The 57-year-old Palestinian told police that he attacked Hannah, a Birmingham University exchange student attached to Jerusalem's Hebrew University, in the hope that a soldier in the carriage would kill him.
Hannah Bladon was a Birmingham University exchange student attached to Jerusalem's Hebrew University +3
Instead Tamimi was arrested and is almost certain to be lauded as a resistance 'hero' by the Palestinian Authority (PA), like hundreds of others before him.
An Israeli court has already ruled, following a psychiatric evaluation, that he is fit to stand trial and should be treated as a terrorist by the justice system.
It means Tamimi or his family qualify for a 'salary' from the PA, according to Itamar Marcus, the founder and director of the Israeli monitoring group Palestinian Media Watch.
'According to PA law, everyone who is imprisoned for 'resisting the occupation' receives a PA salary,' he said. 'In PA practice, 100 per cent of the suicide bombers, stabbers, shooters and car rammers have been included in this category and do receive PA salaries.'
Terrorists who have 'resisted the occupation' are paid a monthly amount by the PA and the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) on a sliding scale related to their sentence.
An Israeli court has ruled that murderer Jamil is fit to stand trial and should be treated as a terrorist by the justice system +3
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's official spokesman, Ofir Gendelman, tweeted his outrage, saying: 'Not only didn't PA president Abbas condemn Hannah Bladon's murder, but he'll reward the Palestinian attacker who did it with a monthly salary.'
Influential commentator Avi Mayer, a former spokesman for the Israel Defence Forces, added: 'If you're British and you pay taxes, know that your money is going to fund a body that rewards convicted murderers.'
British taxpayers give the PA £25 million a year from foreign aid for health and education.
The Mail on Sunday has repeatedly highlighted the way in which such funding has been abused, and the news comes as our poll shows a pledge to continue spending 0.7 per cent of GDP on aid will be a voter loser for the Tories. Last month, we exposed how terrorism was openly promoted to pupils at West Bank schools named after mass murderers and Islamist militants.
Last December, the Department for International Development announced that it would restrict its payments to the PA to health and education with a 'vetted list' of public servants. But critics point out that when British taxpayers' cash goes to education and health, it frees up money in other budgets controlled by the PA.
DFID said: 'UK financial support is only used to provide essential health and education services to Palestinians, as part of our efforts to help deliver peace and the two-state solution. We have extensive precautions in place to ensure that UK money does not support terror groups or organisations.'