(Israel Government Press Office)Introduction:
The Palestinian Authority (PA) is giving generous monthly stipends and large release grants to incarcerated terrorists. These convicted murderers - 78 of whom already have been released from prison by Israel in the framework of the negotiating process with the Palestinians - are receiving monthly stipends of up to nearly $3,500 and grants of up to $25,000. (Indeed, a senior Palestinian official responsible for prisoner affairs stated that the former prisoners will receive grants of up to $50,000.)
In this way the PA is giving a strong financial incentive to terrorism, including through the misuse of fungible foreign financial assistance. Publically rewarding convicted murderers gives an official stamp of approval to terrorist attacks on Israeli civilians. It is a highly persuasive form of incitement to violence and terrorism.
Providing financial support for terrorists not only violates basic morality, it encourages further terrorist outrages. (For example, it may tempt young Palestinians to seek an answer to familial financial difficulties through the use of violence).
The international community should express its outrage at this abuse of foreign assistance that is donated primarily for the proper management of PA institutions and for promoting peaceful coexistence with Israel.Main points:
1. The Palestinian Prisoners' Law: The Palestinian Prisoner's Law was updated in April 2010 by a series of resolutions passed by the Palestinian Authority. According to the main elements of the law - as published on 15 April 2011 in the official newspaper of the PA, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida - every Palestinian inmate in an Israeli prison who is convicted of a terrorism-related offense receives a monthly salary
, from the beginning of his imprisonment. In November 2013, Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah issued a decree amending the Prisoners' Law
, which introduced a series of additional benefits offered to convicted terrorists upon their release.
2. Salaries for incarcerated terrorists: The Palestinian Authority pays monthly salaries to Palestinian prisoners serving time in Israeli prisons for terrorism-related offences. These salaries are calculated as a function of the number of years spent in prison. This means in effect that the terrorists who carried out the most horrific attacks receive the highest salaries.
In 2010, the PA has put in place an updated system that sets the minimal wage paid to serving prisoners at NIS 1,400 (around $400) upon imprisonment. This base sum increases gradually, up to a maximum of 12,000 shekels (around $3,500), based on the length of imprisonment (see details in Appendix I). In addition to that salary, the PA covers the living expenses of the prisoners' families. (Sources: Al-Hayat Al-Jadida and WAFA).
It should be noted that the amounts of money being bestowed upon these terrorists are large not only in and of themselves, but in particular in contrast to the average monthly salaries of Palestinian workers in the West Bank, which stands at $641 according to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics
3. Grants: According to the relevant PA legislative provisions, every released security prisoner who was in prison in Israel for at least one year is given a onetime grant upon release ranging from the sum of $1,500 for those who served between 1-3 years and up to $25,000 for prisoners of 30 years and more (see details in Appendix II). Those who were in Israeli prisons for criminal offences do not receive any grants.
Although a limit of $25,000 was reported in the Palestinian media, according to Nael Ghannam, the Director of the PA's Ministry of Prisoners' Affairs
, former prisoners who were incarcerated more than 15 years receive grants of $2,000 per year of imprisonment (for a maximum amount of $50,000, while there are credible reports
of at least one bonus of $60,000).
4. Promotions: As of 2013, the PA "promotes" convicted terrorists on a scale equivalent to administrative grades in its civil service or military rank, based on the number of years spent in jail (see detailed table in Appendix III). For example, those who served at least 25 years in prison
are awarded the equivalent rank of Major-General in the security forces or of a Deputy Minister in the PA, both of which earn monthly wages of nearly $4,000. Terrorists who were incarcerated between 15-25 years
receive over $2,800 every month.
5. Additional incentives: A 2013 Palestinian Authority regulation regarding prisoners gives released terrorists priority over other candidates for official positions. In addition, it offers prisoners who spent between 5-10 years in prison severance payments in case no vacancy is found for them. The base sum of the severance payment is NIS 1,500, with an additional sum of 100 shekels for every year of imprisonment. In some cases an unemployment allowance is also given.Further background:
6. Terrorists rewarded: Many of the terrorists included in the latest prisoner releases will receive the maximum amounts, reaching tens of thousands of dollars. As the negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians began on 30 July 2013, Israel agreed to release 104 terrorists who had been in prison since before the 1993 Oslo peace process. All were heavily involved in terrorist activities and in acts of murder. Instead of condemning their heinous acts, the PA praises them as heroes, setting them up to be figures of inspiration for the younger generation.
Examples of terrorists receiving monetary rewards:
• Among those who will receive the maximum amount is the most veteran prisoner, Issa Abed Rabbo, who shot to death two young Hebrew University students hiking near Bethlehem in 1984. In addition to the grant and salary, the PA also offered to cover the expenses of his wedding
• Abu-Musa Atia, who used an ax to murder Isaac Rotenberg, a Holocaust survivor who had escaped from the Sobibor death camp
• Yusef Hazaa who murdered two Israeli teachers, one of them a 19-year-old volunteer.
• Sualha Husseini and Almajed Mahmed who carried out a stabbing attack on a crowded bus, killing 24-year-old Baruch Heizler and wounding three young women.
7. Abuse of foreign aid: The Palestinian Authority is highly dependent on foreign aid. This money, which supports the PA budget, is fungible to meet payments for imprisoned and released terrorists. For example, in 2012 the PA paid over $75 million to terrorists in Israeli prisons and $78 million to the families of deceased terrorists (including suicide bombers). Together, these amounts account for over 16% of the annual foreign donations and grants to the PA budget (see details in Appendix IV)
a. According to official figures from the Palestinian Authority's monthly budgetary reports, in 2012 the PA transferred $75.5 million to terrorists in Israeli prisons and their families. This amount is equal to at least 9.6% of the direct foreign donations to the PA's yearly budget.
b. This figure reflects only official transfers by the Ministry of Prisoners. It does not include any additional transfers from other bodies, such as the Ministry for Welfare and PA official funds (which lack transparency).
c. This figure also does not include transfers to families of deceased terrorists (including suicide bombers). These transfers are handled separately and according to credible media sources
, amount to a slightly higher yearly sum ($78 million in 2011).
Thus, together the total sum allocated to deceased or imprisoned Palestinian terrorists and their families amounts to more than 16% of the annual foreign donations to the PA's budget.
These payments account for approximately 5% of the Palestinian Authority's total budget.
8. Payments to incarcerated prisoners are salaries, not social welfare payments
Palestinian Authority officials have attempted to justify these payments by claiming that they are "social aid" to families of prisoners, and not salaries. However, facts and figures contradict these claims.
a. As stated above, the size of the salary is determined relative to the length of sentence. The economic and social needs of the individual prisoners or their families have little to no bearing on the amount paid.
b. Only a very small stipend is added to the salary for spouses and children of terrorists. A married prisoner receives an additional $82 a month, while for every child under 18, the prisoner receives an additional $13 per month. The diminutive size of this stipend, both in real terms and in relation to the overall salary, clearly indicates that the monies paid are not intended as payment to families based on welfare needs, but rather are actual salaries paid to terrorists.
c. The Palestinians themselves have admitted that the payments to the terrorists are salaries. Qadura Fares, a former PA minister and current Chairman of the Prisoners' Club stated on Jan. 17, 2013 on PA TV
: "What is spent on the prisoners is exactly what is spent on me and you. These are salaries (rawatib). Therefore, when the salaries are paid to those working in government offices and institutions, they will also be paid to the prisoners."