According to recent reports, the Palestinian Authority (PA) has omitted the monthly budget entry for the funds it uses to pay salaries to convicted Palestinian terrorists and their families in the English version it provides to international donors.
The funds are reportedly published in the PA’s monthly budget performances in Arabic, but the entry is missing from the English translation.
The findings, which detail the “discrepancies between the Arabic and the English”, were published by Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) this week.
They note that “it is impossible to know conclusively if these discrepancies between the Arabic and the English were done intentionally by the PA to misrepresent its reports”.
As prisoner salaries are the only item missing from the English version, however, and given that the international community has condemned the practice, PMW suggests that the discrepancy “certainly raises the suspicion that this was intentional”.
Palestinian laws passed in 2004 and amended in 2013 state that Palestinians and Israeli Arabs who are convicted of attacks in Israel (“participation in the struggle against the occupation”) are entitled to monthly salaries commencing with their arrest (and continuing for life for men who serve at least five years and women who serve at least two), along with additional cash grants and priority civil-service job placements upon their release.
These monthly salaries are paid to around 5,500 convicted terrorists, ranging from £230 to as much as £2,000 for those serving a 30-year sentence. Prisoner salaries directly reward terrorists who have killed Israelis, with higher salaries given to those who have killed more Israelis.
619 million shekels (over £137 million) was reportedly spent on this practice in 2019, with additional funds allocated to the families of ‘martyrs’.
In July 2017, PA President Mahmoud Abbas pledged that he will not stop paying salaries to imprisoned terrorists and their families, even if it costs him his Presidency.
In November 2019, the Dutch government cut funding to the PA over its payments to terrorist prisoners.