Thursday, January 24, 2019


The Palestinian Authority spent at least NIS 502 million in payments to terrorist prisoners in 2018, according to a report released Thursday by the Israeli research institute Palestinian Media Watch.
PMW has provided the Ministry of Defense with its calculations ahead of a first-time implementation of the Stern Law, an Israeli law that was approved in July 2018 and that is supposed to be implemented for the first time in January 2019.

The law mandates that the government deduct on a monthly basis one-twelfth of the sum given to support terrorists and their families from the taxes and tariffs Israel collects and transfers to the Palestinian Authority based on the amount distributed in the previous year – in this case, in 2018. 

PMW based its calculations on the Palestinian Authority’s own budgetary update and information obtained from the Israeli Prison Service. However, the institute said that the PA does not provide details of how this money was allocated between the terrorist prisoners and the released terrorist prisoners.

At least 230 million shekels were paid in salaries to terrorist prisoners, according to PMW, and at least 176 million shekels were paid in salaries to released terrorist prisoners. The remaining 96 million shekels covers additional salary payments and other benefits to the terrorist prisoners and released terrorist prisoners that PMW is unable to precisely quantify, according to the report.

Further, PMW calculations refer only to PA payments to terrorist prisoners and released terrorist prisoners, and do not include the PA payments to the families of dead terrorists or Palestinian “martyrs.” The PA budget for martyrs is listed under the same budget category as the wounded and those civilians who have been killed but were not involved in terror. The 2018 PA budget allocated 687 million shekels for these causes. 

The Stern law requires that the Minister of Defense, currently Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, compile an annual report of the PA’s payments to the terrorist prisoners, released terrorist prisoners, martyrs and wounded. Once approved by the Security Cabinet, the Israeli Government will deduct the amount the PA spent to incentivize and reward terrorists from the taxes Israel collects and transfers to the PA.

"The law that imposes monetary sanctions on the PA because of its payments to terrorists is one of the most important laws passed in Israel in recent years, because it sends a clear message to the Palestinian Authority that Israel will by no means accept its support for terrorism,” said PMW director Itamar Marcus. 

PMW report comes amid ongoing challenges to determine and agree on the total amount being allocated to terrorists. 

In a March 2018 speech at the American Public Affairs and Defense Committee conference, Netanyahu claimed that the Palestinian Authority was paying about $350 million a year to terrorists and their families.

“Raise your hands high if you agree with me that [Palestinian] President [Mahmoud] Abbas should stop paying terrorists to murder Jews,” Netanyahu said in that speech. “You know how much he pays? He pays about $350 million a year to terrorists and their families. Each year. That’s about a little less than 10 percent of the total Palestinian budget. That’s an incredible number, he pays Hakim Awad, the terrorist who murdered this beautiful family of Ehud and Ruth Fogel and their three children and a 3-month-old baby girl, he pays Hakim Awad this murderer.

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