The Palestinian Authority (PA) reportedly paid over £110 million in 2020 in salaries to convicted Palestinian terrorists, constituting 3.25% of the PA’s budget for last year.
The PA also has a “Martyrs’ Fund” for the families of those killed while carrying out acts of terrorism against Israelis, which includes monthly salaries as well as free education, insurance and medical care.
Since the start of 2020, the PA has omitted the monthly budget entry for the funds it uses to pay these salaries in the English version it provides to international donors, in an apparent attempt to hide the payments.
After examining the PA’s financial reports throughout 2020, Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) has reported that the PA spent no less than 512 million shekels on the practice (approximately £111 million) after funnelling the payments through the PLO.
Unlike the PA which is required to show full transparency to international donors, the PLO does not have to declare its expenditure.
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.
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.