One of the principal financial instruments used by Palestinian leaders to encourage violence and terrorism is the payment of "salaries" and grants to terrorists serving time in Israeli prisons and to released prisoners.

Behind the Headlines: Rewarding terrorists and encouraging violence

 

Copyright: Reuters

The Palestinian Authority (PA) uses various methods to encourage the Palestinian population to engage in violence and terrorism. Hatred of Israelis and Jews is taught to children from their earliest years. Speeches by Palestinian leaders and religious figures, as well as materials published on the internet and widely distributed on official social media outlets, actively encourage Palestinians to carry out terrorist attacks. The highest-ranking PA officials and official PA media engage in the glorification of terrorists, as do the Palestinian educational systems.

In addition to these ideological and cultural foundations of terrorism, the Palestinian leadership also uses financial instruments to encourage violence and terrorism. One of the principal tools used by Palestinian leaders is the payment of "salaries" and grants to terrorists serving time in Israeli prisons and to released prisoners.

Palestinians convicted of terrorism serving time in Israeli prisons are given monthly payments by Palestinian officials. Those who serve more than five years are granted a life-long monthly stipend. Funds are also funneled by the PA to former prisoners and the families of "Shaheeds".

Numerous convicted terrorists have admitted that they carried out attacks in order to receive these payments. In some cases, it is known that the perpetrators first checked what sentence the planned act carried before committing it, for the purpose of completing the period of incarceration needed to receive the maximum stipend. Some – who had served less than five years – stated that after their release they committed additional acts of violence in order to fulfill the five year condition and be guaranteed a life-long stipend.

These payments are not welfare payments and the rate of pay is not needs-based but depends primarily on the length of the sentence. Those who have carried out the most horrific attacks receive the highest payments.

The amounts of money involved are substantial, and approximately $100 million are spent each year on convicted terrorists in Israeli prisons as well as released prisoners. The salaries paid to prisoners start at approximately $400 a month and can reach approximately $3,500 monthly. Considering that the average monthly salary of a Palestinian worker in the West Bank is approximately $640, these salaries can provide incentive to potential terrorists.

In addition, PA governmental institutions and PA-affiliated organizations support the families of terrorists killed while carrying out attacks on Israeli civilians ("Shaheeds"). This practice has grown during the past year in particular.

These rewards give an official stamp of approval to acts of violence, already primed by the PA’s culture of hate and terrorist glorification. Providing convicted terrorists with large salaries, and even life-long stipends, reinforces the PA’s official policy of glorifying terrorists. The glorification of terrorists serves not only to honor these murderers but to encourage others, including young people, to engage in terrorism.

In September 2014, following repeated exposures of the PA prisoners’ funding mechanism, and as a result, the pressure exerted by Israel and western donors, PA President Mahmoud Abbas closed the Ministry of Prisoners and Detainees Affairs. Responsibility for the prisoners was then transferred to the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), and a new body – a Commission of Prisoners Affairs – was set up to pay the salaries.

This transfer of responsibility is nothing more than an attempt to deceive the international community and alleviate the pressure being applied by western donors who objected to their contributions being used to support convicted terrorists. There is little separation between the PA and the PLO. Indeed both are headed by PA President Mahmoud Abbas, who continues to direct the payments to prisoners and former prisoners.

These immoral money transfers – whether by the PA or by the PLO – should cease completely.