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PA salaries to terrorists
PA salaries to terrorists
In April 2011, the Palestinian Authority Registry published a Government Resolution granting all Palestinian prisoners imprisoned in Israel for security and terror-related offenses a monthly salary from the PA (Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, April 15, 2011). This new resolution, called PA Government Resolution of 2010, numbers 21 and 23, formalized what has long been a PA practice.

The PA defined which Palestinians would be considered "prisoners": "Anyone imprisoned in the occupation's [Israel's] prisons as a result of his participation in the struggle against the occupation" (Ch. 1 of Law of Prisoners, 2004/19, www.alasra.ps, accessed May 9, 2011)

According to the PA definition, more than 4,500 Palestinian prisoners (as of December 2012) serving time for terror-related offenses are recipients of PA salaries. This means that Palestinians convicted of crimes such as theft do not receive a salary, but Hamas and Fatah terrorist murderers do.

These monthly payments to prisoners are paid from the PA’s general budget and income taxes are paid, as is the case with all other PA salaries (Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, June 19, 2011). According to the language of the PA regulation as well as PA economic reports on government salaries, the monthly salaries to prisoners range from 2,400 shekels to 12,000 shekels. The PA economic report listed the prisoners’ salaries as part of the PA general salary budget, which includes civil servants, military personnel and others. (Life and the Market, supplement to Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, June 19, 2011). It was not listed as a social service payment.

The PA’s general budget and salary budget is funded by numerous donor countries. Since 2011, PMW has been documenting that international donors' aid money given for salaries and to the PA 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.

Responding to queries from donor countries following PMW reports, the PA told the donor countries that they changed the wording of the law from “salaries” – “ratib”- to “assistance” – “i’ana.” British Minister of State stated in a letter that “we have discussed these issues with the PA at the highest levels” and “the PA has now changed the wording in the Cabinet Decision to unambiguously refer to the payment as assistance – i’ana.’” (Letter from Minister of State Alan Duncan to MP Mike Freer, see report here) However, the PA immediately contradicted what Duncan had claimed, calling it a rumor:

“[Minister of Prisoners’ Affairs Issa] Karake denies rumors about changing salaries (Arabic: rawatib) into social assistance (Arabic: i'anat ijtima'iya)…” [WAFA (the official Palestinian Authority news agency), Dec. 27, 2012]
 
This was likewise corroborated by Prisoners' Club Chairman Qadura Fares, when he announced that the PA had finalized a final version of the law “which considers payments made to prisoners 'salaries,' (Arabic: ratib) to which no other term applies.” [Al-Quds Internet edition, Dec. 27, 2012]

To view all PMW reports on PA salaries to terrorist prisoners, click here.

Ministry: Salaries will be paid according to new regulation starting in July 
Source: Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, June 13, 2014
     “The Ministry of Prisoners’ Affairs said yesterday [June 12, 2014] that the released prisoners’ salaries would be paid according to the new regulation starting from the beginning of this coming July, following the agreement reached between the government and the Released Prisoners’ Committee.
The Ministry explained that after a series of meetings and discussions, an agreement was reached which will serve a large number of released prisoners, and [that] a period of 6 months was granted the prisoners who had not finished [filling out] their documents, so that they may fulfill all the conditions and benefit from the decision. The Ministry called on all prisoners affected by the regulation to turn to its centers in all districts of the homeland as soon as possible to obtain the approved form, fill it out and attach the required documents, [adding that] married prisoners must bring their marriage contracts.”
Fatah official confirms: Change from PA "Ministry" to PLO "Authority" is a ploy to avoid donor pressure to stop prisoners' salaries 
Source: Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, June 11, 2014
     "At a press conference he organized at the Fatah faction headquarters in Ramallah yesterday, [Fatah Central Committee member Azzam] Al-Ahmad told Al-Hayat Al-Jadida that 'the decision to close the Ministry of Information was made in the past and will soon be implemented.' In addition, he said that it had been decided to transform the Ministry of Prisoners' Affairs into an authority subordinate to the PLO, in the wake of international pressure aimed at preventing the payments to the prisoners in the occupation...
Al-Ahmad rejected the attempts to cast doubt on the leadership's position regarding support of the prisoners, and said: 'We stopped the negotiations after Israel refused to release the last group of prisoners, and they are the "apple of our eye."'
Al-Ahmad noted that in the past, problems had arisen with donor countries regarding the aid to the Martyrs' families, and that their files had therefore been transferred to the PLO. He added: 'In recent months, there have been attempts on the part of the donors to exert pressure [on us] to stop the payments to the prisoners in the occupation prisons, causing us to transfer the issue of the prisoners back to the prisoners' and Martyrs' (Shahids') original mother [organization] (the PLO) [parenthesis in source].'
He noted that the national efforts must lead to getting rid of the Oslo Accords and their results, and said: 'We don't want any council, government or chairman based on the Oslo Accords; we want a state president, a state parliament and a state government. Even if they try to prevent us from [achieving] this, we have original solutions.'
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For the complete translation, click "full article."
PA pays prisoners a total of $12 million a month 
Source: Official Palestinian Authority TV, June 11, 2014
Fatah spokesman Ahmad Assaf: "The Ministry of Prisoners' Affairs established under the PA has the third largest monthly budget in the PA. It's the third largest PA government ministry. Over 40 million shekels (i.e., 12 million dollars) a month, which the PA pays the prisoners, the released prisoners and their families."
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PA spokesman confirms: Change from PA "Ministry" to PLO "Authority" is a change in name only, salaries will continue 
Source: Official Palestinian Authority TV, June 5, 2014
PA TV host: "What was proposed on the issue of the Ministry of Prisoners' Affairs, and that it should be under the PLO?"
PA government spokesman Ehab Bessaiso: "The change of the Ministry of Prisoners' Affairs into the Authority of Prisoners' Affairs is not the [PA] government's issue, but the PLO's issue. The Palestinian government is part of the PLO... [The change] will provide political and legal cover for this issue. In addition, it eliminates the many arguments made by many parties, who always try to say that [foreign] aid money [to the PA] is going to the prisoners, to cover the prisoners' expenses. We all owe it to the prisoners to protect their rights and fulfill their due. They spend years in prison and pay the price. The question isn't the name, or the role, but rather, the framework for the political distribution of roles regarding these issues. When we talk about the prisoners, we are talking about a basic component of Palestinian political activity."
PA TV host: "None of the prisoners' rights will change. Only the name has changed. Instead of calling it "Ministry," we call it "Authority," but the [prisoners'] salaries will continue to flow, everything will continue - all the allowances... People are concerned about their livelihood; that it may be cut off. We clarify it for them that nothing will harm the prisoners; their rights - under a ministry that became an authority - will remain the same."
PA government spokesman Ehab Bessaiso: "If you want me to put it simply, then yes, that was [put] simply."
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PA prime minister denies statement published in his name that Ministry of Prisoners' Affairs will be turned into an authority 
Source: Quds Press international News Agency, June 3, 2014
     “The Prime Minister of the Palestinian National Consensus [Government], Rami Hamdallah, denied what was published in his name yesterday [June 6, 2014] by the PA’s official news agency, about the Ministry of Prisoners’ Affairs having been closed and [about the] action being taken to transform it into an authority subordinate to the PLO – a move which Hamas, in an initial response, termed a ‘coup against the reconciliation.’ At a press conference held after the first meeting of the National Consensus Government on Tuesday morning [June 3, 2014], Hamdallah said that what the media outlets had discussed with respect to the transformation of the Ministry of Prisoners’ [Affairs] into an ‘authority’ was incorrect, and added: ‘turning the Ministry of Prisoners’ [Affairs] into an authority is under the PLO’s authority, not the government’s. The Ministry of Prisoners’ [Affairs] still exists, and is run by Minister of Social Affairs Shawqi Issa,’ he said.
WAFA, the official PA news agency, noted yesterday that the Prime Minister of the National Consensus Government, Rami Hamdallah had said, in private statements made a few hours after being sworn in, that it had been decided to transform the Ministry of Prisoners’ Affairs into an ‘authority’ subordinate to the PLO, and that the task of overseeing it has been entrusted to Minister of Social Affairs Shawqi Issa until the process of its transformation has been completed.”
PA official: Abbas has increased budget for prisoners fivefold 
Source: Ma’an, independent Palestinian news agency, June 2, 2014
     “[PA] Deputy Minister of Prisoners’ Affairs Ziyad Abu Ein said that the Ministry exists and will not be closed until its status is determined, whether through the creation of a Prisoners’ [Affairs] Authority or by leaving it as it is. In a statement to Ma’an, he added: ‘The Ministry of Prisoners’ [Affairs] still exists in the makeup of the new government and is operating as an institution with all its elements. A discussion was held regarding its replacement with a supreme authority, but no presidential decree has been issued on the matter.’ He went on and said: ‘I am surprised by and condemn all the noise [being made] around the Ministry of Prisoners’ [Affairs], especially since it has not been closed, but [rather], there are thoughts to replace it with an authority whose powers will be no less than that of the Ministry. In addition, the prisoners’ issue is receiving double support from the President [Mahmoud Abbas], since Mahmoud Abbas has increased its budget fivefold.’”
PA prime minister announces Ministry of Prisoners' Affairs will be turned into an authority 
Source: Ma’an, independent Palestinian news agency, June 2, 2014
     “[PA] Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah said that the government has decided to turn the Ministry of Prisoners’ [Affairs] into an authority, and that the task of overseeing it has been entrusted to Minister of Social Affairs Shawqi Issa until the process of its transformation has been completed.”
Fatah official: Arab countries support prisoners' salaries, but some European countries think it "isn't in their interests" 
Source: Official Palestinian Authority TV, June 2, 2014
Official PA TV program The State of Politics hosted Deputy Secretary of the Fatah Central Committee and Head of the Supreme Council for Sport and Youth Affairs Jibril Rajoub, who spoke about the Hamas-Fatah reconciliation and mentioned the issue of the transfer of money to Palestinian prisoners.
Deputy Secretary of the Fatah Central Committee and Head of the Supreme Council for Sport and Youth Affairs Jibril Rajoub: “There are Arab and Islamic countries for whom this issue [the transfer of money to prisoners] – there is no dispute about supporting it. You know some of the European countries, they think this isn’t in their interests, and they don’t want it, okay?”
Whether the PA pays the salaries or the PLO pays the salaries, "It makes no difference" 
Source: Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, June 1, 2014
     "Abu Ein emphasized that the Ministry of Prisoners' Affairs will continue to operate in its present form until the publication of the [presidential] decree. He noted that according to law, when no Minister of Prisoners' Affairs is appointed, the Prime Minister is entrusted with the prisoners' affairs portfolio."
[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, June 1, 2014]

     "The Secretary-General of Fatah's Revolutionary Council, Amin Maqbul... emphasized that the Prisoners' Affairs Authority will enjoy all the powers that the Ministry of Prisoners' Affairs had."
[Ma'an, independent Palestinian news agency, June 2, 2014]

     "[Fatah Central Committee member Azzam] Al-Ahmad said: '... There is no room for argument over the prisoners' issue. It makes no difference whether it will be a Ministry of Prisoners' Affairs, or an Authority, or an association."
[Ma'an, independent Palestinian news agency, June 2, 2014]
 
PA to transfer handling of prisoners' salaries to PLO in order to negate “the interference of the donor countries” 
Source: Official Palestinian Authority TV, June 1, 2014
Deputy Minister of Prisoners' Affairs Ziyad Abu Ein: "Who else has elevated the cause of the Palestinian prisoners other than President Mahmoud Abbas? All the laws, the tenfold increase of the budget of the Ministry of Prisoners' [Affairs] - [all this] was done during the tenure of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and according to the wishes of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas...
If we go back to the source, which is the PLO, which will take care of the [prisoner] issue... we eliminate the international pressure and the attempts to tamper with this issue, so sensitive and holy to our Palestinian people. The [Palestinian] leadership wants to keep this holy issue away from the influence of the donor countries, the interference of the donor countries, and the occasional negative influence of the donor countries, by giving it [the prisoner issue] its holiness and assigning it to the leadership of the struggle of our Palestinian people. Who is the leadership of the struggle of our Palestinian people? The PLO... All the authority, all the laws, the budget, the officials and staff will be a part of the Prisoners and Released Prisoners' Authority, which will belong to the PLO, to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and to the Executive Committee of the PLO."
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New measure will negate US Congress “attempt to blackmail the PA;” “prisoners 'would not feel any change'” 
Source: Al-Ayyam, June 1, 2014
Al-Ayyam reporting on the PA decision to transfer handling of prisoners' salaries to the PLO
     "The new situation would make possible the provision of new resources to support prisoners' issues, without allowing forces of the US Congress or some European parliaments to attempt to blackmail the PA or to take steps against it.' Furthermore, these sources predicted that prisoners "would not feel any change," but rather improvement of their situation would be the case, as the PA would be able "to act towards meeting their demands and defending their rights more efficiently and flexibly."
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Transferring payments of over 37 million shekels a month allows PA to avoid pressure from donor countries 
Source: Wattan News Agency, May 31, 2014
     "The decision [to transfer the payments from the PA to the PLO] is the PA's response to Israeli pressure to which it has been subjected for a long time, specifically, non-stop criticism of the [PA's] support of the prisoners, which it [Israel] considers 'support of terrorism,' as well as the protests Israel has voiced through the media against the great honor the released prisoners receive at the reception in the Palestinian Presidential Headquarters...
Deputy Minister of Prisoners' Affairs [Abu Ein] emphasized that the prisoners' and released prisoners' affairs portfolio 'will be transferred to the PLO leadership instead of remaining under [the authority of] a government of technocrats, and that this would also avoid the pressure being exerted on the PA by the donor countries, which oppose the transfer of their money to prisoners...'
On another issue, [Deputy Minister of Prisoners' Affairs] Abu Ein said that the [total sum] of the salaries of the released prisoners, who number over 5,000, 'exceeds 10 million shekels a month, a large part of which goes to people occupying senior positions in the private sector, including directors of banks, companies, non-governmental institutions and media institutions.' He added: 'the principle says that the government must employ people, and not pay salaries without results...'
Abu Ein said that the Ministry of Prisoners' Affairs transfers approximately 27 million shekels a month to the prisoners in the occupation prisons, to pay for salaries and expenses."
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EU countries contribute €16.4 million to the PA's payment of salaries 
Source: WAFA news agency, May 6, 2014
The following article appeared on WAFA's English website:
    "Today the European Union has contributed approximately €16.4 million to the payment of the April salaries and pensions of approximately 70,000 Palestinian civil servants and pensioners of the Palestinian Authority (PA) in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. The contribution, made through the PEGASE mechanism, is funded by the European Union (€7.05 million) and the governments of Denmark (DKK 40 million or c.€5.36 million), Ireland(€1.0 million), Italy (€1.0 million), Luxembourg (€1.0 million) and The Netherlands (c.€0.98 million earmarked specifically for salaries in the Justice sector).
'The EU has consistently sought both to help ensure the well-being of the Palestinian population and – in the context of a commitment to a two-state solution – engage in Palestinian institution-building,' said the EU Representative in Palestine John Gatt-Rutter. 'Over many years the EU has proven to be Palestinian people's most reliable partner. The predictability of our financial support has always been guaranteed despite the very unpredictable political climate', he added...
Most of the European Union's assistance to the Palestinian Authority is channeled through PEGASE, the financial mechanism launched in 2008 to support the PA Reform and Development Plan (2008-2010) and the subsequent PA Palestinian National Plan (2011-2013). As well as helping to meet a substantial proportion of its running costs, European funds support major reform and development programmes in key ministries, to help prepare the PA for statehood.
Since February 2008, around €1.59 billion have been disbursed through the PEGASE Direct Financial Support programmes. In addition, the EU has provided assistance to the Palestinian people through UNRWA and a wide range of cooperation projects."
To read more, click "full article.''
US Assistant Secretary of State gives incorrect testimony to Congress about PA salaries to terrorists 
Source: House Committee on Foreign Affairs' website, Apr. 29, 2014
Excerpts from testimony by Assistant Secretary of State, Ambassador Anne W. Patterson at congressional subcommittee hearing:
Congressman Weber: Ambassador Patterson, do you have a dollar figure on the amount of stipends... going to the terrorists in prison and the salaries?
Assistant Secretary Patterson: No I don't have a figure, this is, they pay families whose relatives are imprisoned and then they do pay some of these people after they're released and I don't have that figure...
Congressman Weber: If the PA is paying for terrorists in prison, we ought to also be willing to hit them with some economic sanctions of that sort, don't you agree?
Assistant Secretary Patterson: Sir, I think this obviously is a difficult problem, and when they pay the families of people that are in prison and they pay stipends... I frankly know that they're going to try and phase that out and we should give them an opportunity to do so.
Congressman Weber: But we can help them phase that out. We could give them some encouragement... Who brought this to light that they were paying terrorists in prison and the families of terrorists, the PA was, do you know?
Assistant Secretary Patterson: I don't know.
Congressman Weber: Why do you think we haven't acted on it to date?
Assistant Secretary Patterson: Because I think, one, that it is a political issue for the Palestinians, that these people are in jail, they have to provide for the families, and again I think that they plan to phase it out.
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Official PA daily announces amendments to the Prisoners' Law 
Source: Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Apr. 23, 2014
     “The end of the meetings of the professional ministerial committee for the Released Prisoners’ Law was announced yesterday [April 22, 2014]. The results show that the Prisoners’ and Released [Prisoners’] Law, which took effect at the beginning of 2014, apparently does not contradict the provisions of the law, and that the financial implications which had been discussed in figures were not realistic.
After the discussions, [the committee] agreed to make amendments to several simple sections which had not been at the center of the controversy surrounding the law – the most important of these [amendments] being the cancellation of the additional sum [allocated] to wives and children in the Regulation for Securing Employment for Prisoners, and the fixing of the salary for married men at 2,000 shekels and for bachelors at 1,500.
According to a statement issued by the [Palestinian] Prisoners’ Club, the recommendations reached by the committee with the relevant parties, will be submitted to the government for approval, so that the law will take effect in the beginning of this June [2014], and retroactively from the beginning of the year, following the updating of all the data relating to the prisoners.”
PA reports Israel may withhold taxes equaling amount given to terrorists  
Source: Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Apr. 10, 2014
     “An Israeli government source confirmed to [Agence] France-Presse that ‘Israel is considering delaying a part of the tax money it transfers to the PA each month, in response to the Palestinians’ unilateral initiatives (i.e., Mahmoud Abbas’ signing of international conventions paving the way for a renewed attempt to gain UN statehood).’ The [Israeli] source, who wished to remain anonymous, added: ‘We believe that the fact that the PA awards large sums of money each month to the Palestinian prisoners and their families constitutes a form of support of terror. Therefore, we are considering withholding from the Palestinians the amount equivalent to that [monthly sum].’”
PA funds fertility treatments for released prisoners, who are “victims of the occupation” 
Source: Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Apr. 8, 2014
     “[PA] Minister of Prisoners’ Affairs Issa Karake disclosed that the Palestinian government has allocated 150,000 shekels for fertility treatments to help prisoners who are having difficulties having children…
In an exclusive interview with Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Karake said: ‘We believed there were only a small number of prisoners in need of financial aid to have children through fertilization, but to our surprise, since the government announced it intends to assist prisoners in this matter, we have received requests from 60 prisoners in two months. This means we are dealing with a phenomenon worthy of attention, and scientific research must be conducted to discover the true reasons behind prisoner infertility…’
[PA Minister of Prisoners’ Affairs] Karake and Health Minister Jawad Awad signed an agreement to purchase an IVF service for the wives of released male prisoners and for released female prisoners who are unable to conceive naturally. The National Fund for Aiding and Supporting Released Palestinian Prisoners and their Families will cover the financial costs…
He [Karake] explained that the government assigns special importance to the prisoners’ issue... because caring for the prisoners is a national, pan-Arab and human duty and is part of defying the occupation…
Karake expressed his opposition to all the Zionist attempts to pressure the PA and place it under financial siege for caring for the prisoners and their families. He said: ‘The prisoners are prisoners of freedom and warrior prisoners, as established by the four Geneva Conventions, which we submitted requests to join. The prisoners are victims of the occupation and the world must act to make this occupation vanish.'”

To read more, click "full article."
PA Prime Minister Hamdallah and PA government “saluted heroic prisoners,” promising them “life in dignity” 
Source: Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Apr. 2, 2014
     “During its weekly meeting, which was held in Ramallah yesterday [April 1, 2014], [and] chaired by [PA] Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah… the government respectfully and admiringly saluted our heroic prisoners in the occupation prisons, and also proudly saluted our released prisoners, who have spent years of their lives [in prison] and inscribed remarkable stories of heroism [on the pages of history]…
In accordance with the leadership’s position, which places the issue of the prisoners at the top of its priorities, and in accordance with the President’s [Mahmoud Abbas’] instructions, the government emphasizes its commitment to implement the Prisoners’ and Released [Prisoners’] Law, and to take any [steps] that may enable the prisoners, the released [prisoners] and their families to live in dignity, out of loyalty to their sacrifice.”
PA daily clarifies terms of terrorists' salaries 
Source: Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Mar. 6, 2014
     “It should be noted that a [previous] agreement exists, signed in 2011 with former prime minister Dr. Salam Fayyad, which states that priority must be given to [paying] the salaries of the Martyrs’ (Shahids’) immediate families in the following manner: A Martyr’s salary is 1,400 shekels, with an addition of 400 for his wife and 200 for his son or daughter, as well as an addition of 300 shekels for [residents] of Jerusalem and the interior (i.e., Israel). In addition, [families] of Martyrs in the diaspora are to receive a salary of 350 dollars, with an addition of 100 [dollars] for [the] wife and 50 for [the] son or daughter.”
PA-funded Prisoners' Club: Israelis taught international donors everything about PA salaries for prisoners 
Source: Official Palestinian Authority TV, Feb. 17, 2014
Chairman of the Prisoners' Club, Qadura Fares:
     "Our second message is directed to the EU, international organizations and to the UN. They know by heart what the Israelis taught them. This is a disgrace. The Israelis (i.e., PMW reports) taught them and explained to them that the PA pays such and such canteen [amount] and pays such and such a salary to a prisoner [imprisoned] four years... When we meet with European, American or UN officials they question us. They know the stuff by heart because the Israelis taught them and explained to them that the PA supports -- according to Liberman's and Netanyahu's claims -- so-called "terrorists"... Minister [of Prisoners' Affairs] Issa Karake remembers that the British Minister of [International Relations and] Cooperation asked us about the Dadash company -- the Dadash company that operates the canteens. Meaning, they know all these facts by heart."
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