Peace for us means the destruction of Israel. We are preparing for an all-out war, a war which will last for generations.—Yasser Arafat
Is the PA lying to European governments Â in order to receive European funding?
Palestinian Media WatchÂ has seen statements by both the British and Norwegian governments defending their payments to the Palestinian Authority’s general budget for salaries. These statements came in response to two PMW reports documenting that thousands of imprisoned terrorists are among the recipients of PA salaries. In their statements, both the British and Norwegian governments say that the PA has informed them that the PA does not pay “salaries” to terrorists in Israeli prisons, but social “assistance” payments to the prisoners’ families. Minister of State Alan Duncan on behalf of Britain’s Department for International Development (DfID) said: “The second [PA] payment scheme [to prisoners] is intended to assist families in need of assistance.” Both governments have written that this information was received from the PA. (See statements below.)
PMW has repeatedly rejected this claim and documented that the payments are indeed salaries not correlated to need but given as a reward for the prisoners’ terror acts, which the PA sees as actions worthy of “esteem.” (See below.) It would violate the letter or spirit of the Western donor countries’ laws and certainly the intent of all Western donors, to have their contributions to the PA go to terrorists’ salaries.
1. PA Minister’s statement rejects as “rumor” the information the PA supplied to the Europeans
The PA has now released a statement through its official news service, WAFA, explicitly contradicting the information that it supplied to the Europeans, while corroborating PMW’s documentation. The PA Minister of Prisoners’ Affairs, Issa Karake, announced that the categorization of the prisoners’ “salaries” as social “assistance” was an incorrect “rumor”:
Significantly, the PA’s denial of the information it supplied to its international donors was announced by WAFA, the official Palestinian Authority news agency. (See full article below.)
Additionally, it should be noted that PA Minister Karake stressed that it is not merely an issue of language, but of the essence of the payment. Karake explained that the prisoners are supported “out of esteem for their sacrifice and struggle,” i.e., as a reward for their actions. UK Min. of State Duncan wrote in his letter on behalf of UK’s DfID, that:
What is explicit from PA Minister Karake’s words is that the payments are not for the “innocent children,” butÂ “out of esteem for their (i.e., the prisoners’) sacrifice and struggle.” To the UK and the West, terrorism is a “crime that we utterly condemn.” However, to the PA it is specifically those crimes that are held in “esteem” and rewarded with monthly salaries.
The PA’s payment ofÂ salaries in recognition of their acts of terror is consistent with the PA’s policy of glorifying terrorists. (See the 40 page PMW special report prepared in December 2012 for members of the Dutch Foreign Affairs Committee, documenting over 100 examples of theÂ PA honoring and glorifying terrorists, including terrorist murderers.)
2. Palestinian terrorist prisoners continue to receive a salary after being released from prison. Today, 4,000 released prisoners receive a “permanent” and “full monthly salary.”
Palestinian terrorist prisoners who served more than five years in prison remain on PA’s payroll even after being released. 4,000 released prisoners who were imprisoned for terrorism or other security offenses, now receive “permanent” “full monthly salaries“, even though many are “in the prime of their lives and could get a job and work.” The PA’s payment of a full salary to released prisoners is another example of how the PA rewards terrorists with donor money:
TV host: “You speak of aÂ permanent salaryfor every [released] prisoner who was in prison for more than five years, and he gets his salary while he sits at home.Â Some of them are in the prime of their lives and could get a job and work. Why not use him in the workforce and give him a salary?”
Minister Karake:Â “That’s right. I presented it to the government and we decided to give preference to employ these prisoners… in order to make the prisoner into a productive person…”
Host:Â “Do we have the number of prisoners who get full monthly salaries?”
Karake:Â “About 4,000.”
Host:Â “That’s an army.”
Karake:Â “Yes, that’s a big number, and it’s growing.”
Host:Â “They don’t work. They just collect a salary.”
Karake:Â “Some work.”
Host:Â “A small number.”
Karake:Â “Some volunteer and work in different institutions.”
Click to view
3. PA changes language of law from “salary” to “assistance” to satisfy the UK, but immediately reverts back to original language
An additional indicator that the PA government seems to be intentionally deceiving its foreign donors is that the UK minister wrote that the PA admitted that its law originally stated it was paying “salaries” -“ratib.” However, in response to the donors’ queries they decided to change the language of the law from “salaries” – “ratib“- to “assistance” – “la’ana.” (See UK DfID letter below.)
Strikingly, this cosmetic change – substituting one word with another – was accepted as adequate, satisfying both by the UK and Norway.
There are indications that the PA may actually have changed the terminology of the law from “salary” (ratib) to “assistance” (la’ana) to satisfy the Europeans, but then immediately changed it back under pressure from prisoners’ organizations. The following statements by Palestinian prisoners’ support organizations shed light on this PA pretense:
“Prisoners’ Club Chairman Qadura Fares said that the government has given final approval for what is stipulated in the Prisoners’ and Released [Prisoners’] Law of 2004,Â which considers payments made to prisoners ‘salaries,’ (Arabic:Â ratib) to which no other term applies.In a statement made to the media, Fares on Thursday [Dec. 27, 2012] called for an end to the disagreement in this matter, which was settled in accordance with the law passed by the previous (PA) Parliament in 2004.
The Ahrar Center for Prisoners’ and Human Rights Research had demanded that President Mahmoud Abbas intervene immediately to reverse the government’s decision to replace the term ‘prisoner salary’ (Arabic:Â ratib) with the term ‘prisoner assistance (Arabic:Â i’anat.)
The Ahrar Center had noted that Palestinian laws are explicit, and what a prisoner receives is not ‘assistance’ (Arabic:Â ma’una, from the same root asÂ i’anat), but rather his minimal rights for the years he spent in prison.”
After the UK and Norway questioned the PA about its payment of salaries to terrorists, the PA changed the language of the law of its payments to terrorists from “salary” to “assistance.” This change was made so that these countries would continue their funding of the PA. Organizations representing the Palestinian prisoners complained about this cosmetic change in the law, which was seen as an insult to the prisoners who deserve the payments as a “salary” and a “right,” not as social “assistance”. The PA government responded, according to Prisoners’ Club Chairman Qadura Fares, and made a final version of the lawÂ “which considers payments made to prisoners ‘salaries,’ (Arabic:ratib) to which no other term applies.”
This was all corroborated by the PA Minister of Prisoners’ Affairs who said that even the cosmetic name change to “social assistance” was only a rumor and that prisoners receive “salaries” out of the PA’s “esteem” for them.Â
Since 2011, PMW has been informing international donors that aid money given to the PA for salaries and for the PA’s general budget pays the salaries of Palestinian terrorists imprisoned in Israel. This is in violation of the letter or spirit of the laws of the funding countries. These salaries are paid to all prisoners, including those who personally murdered Israelis, like 17 year-old Hakim Awad who murdered five members of the Fogel family, as well as terrorists like Ibrahim Hamid, who received 54 life sentences for planning several suicide bombings.
None of these payments have ever been denied by the PA.
Apparently, European funders of the PA have continued to fund the salaries as well as the general budget because the PA is supplying them with false and only partial information. The Europeans may not be aware that their donations to the PA were also paying salaries for 4,000 released prisoners who are able to work. Likewise, the donors were misinformed by the PA that their payments for salaries are “social assistance.” The words of the Minister of Prisoners’ Affairs to the Palestinian audience in Arabic are explicit: the purpose of the laws regarding the prisoners and their salary payments is not to give social “assistance” based on needs, but were enacted “out of esteem” for their actions.
Click to view pdf of thisÂ PMW report with previous PMW reports documenting the PA’s payment of salaries to terroristsÂ in prison.
Click to view pdf ofÂ PMW’s first report exposing the PA’s payment of salaries to terroristsÂ in prison.
Click to view pdf ofÂ PMW’s first report on UK aidÂ financing the PA’s payment of salaries to terrorists in prison.
Click to view pdf ofÂ PMW’s second report on UK aidÂ financing the PA’s payment of salaries to terrorists in prison.
Click to view pdf ofÂ PMW’s report on PA payment of salaries and glorification of terrorists and Dutch funding.