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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]

In August 2014, the PA implemented another ruse to evade pressure from international ‎donors. The PA closed the PA Ministry of Prisoners’ Affairs and announced the ‎establishment of a new PLO Commission of Prisoners’ Affairs, which they claimed ‎would pay the salaries. ‎

However, the PLO Commission was new only in name. The PLO body would have the ‎same responsibilities and pay the exact same amounts of salaries to prisoners; the ‎former PA Minister of Prisoners’ Affairs, Issa Karake, became the Director of the new ‎PLO Commission and PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas retained overall supervision of ‎the PLO Commission. [PNN Palestine News Network (independent Palestinian news agency), Aug. 29, 2014] [Ayjal radio (independent Palestinian station), Aug. 30, 2014] [Official PA TV, May 9, 2015]

Nevertheless, many international donors accepted PA assurances that the PA was no ‎longer paying the salaries to terrorist prisoners. For instance, the Dutch government ‎made this statement in April 2015: ‎

‎“The responsibility for payments to prisoners was transferred to the PLO and will ‎no longer be charged to the budget of the PA, and these [payments to prisoners] ‎are not funded by PA tax revenues or donor funds. The PLO pays such costs ‎from their own income, where the Cabinet has no access.” [Question and ‎Answer session, Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, April 22, 2015] ‎
 
Ample evidence contradicts the PA assurances to the Dutch and other donors. These ‎findings are based entirely on information supplied by the PA: ‎

‎- In January 2015, the PA Ministry of Finance announced that the PA budget includes ‎transfer of salaries to prisoners in Israeli jails who were from Gaza. [Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, ‎Jan. 6, 2015] This openly contradicts the PA claim that the PA no longer pays salaries ‎to prisoners.‎

‎- When Israel withheld PA tax income in the first months of 2015, the PA announced ‎that prisoners receiving up to 2,000 shekels in salary a month would continue to ‎receive their full salary and those receiving more than 2,000 shekels would only ‎receive 60% of their salary -- the same reduction that was imposed on civil servants. ‎‎[Wattan News Agency, March 5, 2015] Were the PLO paying salaries from Arab donor ‎money and not the PA, Israel's holding up PA money would have no impact on terrorist ‎prisoners’ salaries. Clearly, it is still PA money paying terrorist prisoners’ salaries.‎

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

The following section documents all developments related to salaries for ‎Palestinian prisoners imprisoned in Israel:‎

PA TV guest indirectly acknowledges PMW impact: Israel “incite[s] the international community… against the prisoners” 
Source: Official Palestinian Authority TV, June 27, 2015
Official PA TV News report on a statement by Chairman of the Prisoners' Club Qadura Fares who criticized the ”incitement” of the Israeli Ma’ariv newspaper against the prisoner program “Giants of Endurance,” which is broadcast on official PA TV, hosted Director of the Hurriyat (“Freedom”) Center Hilmi Al-Araj.
Director of the Hurriyat (“Freedom”) Center Hilmi Al-Araj: “In fact, this isn’t the first attack of the occupation authorities, on all levels, against the prisoners, the Palestinian media, and the Palestinian national television, in an attempt to intimidate this voice and the prisoners and their families. They incite the international community, the European Union, and the American government against the prisoners. At the moment, they’re fighting the prisoners, their families, and the national television, which due to its patriotic policies – and this is its natural right – had its broadcasts banned in the prisons. Therefore I state clearly: The Palestinian people and its leaders will ignore all these threats and this blatant attack, because these are our prisoners, our heroes, and it is our duty to honor them, to appreciate them, to uplift them, and to be in their homes. This is justice and support for the prisoners, and therefore these attempts will not stop us from fulfilling this task: support of the cause of the prisoners until their liberation.”
Ministry of Prisoners Affairs has third largest budget in PA, pays 40 million shekels to prisoners  
Source: Official Palestinian Authority TV, June 11, 2015
Fatah spokesman Ahmad Assaf: “The Ministry of Prisoners’ Affairs established in the Palestinian National Authority has the third highest monthly budget in the PA, meaning it is the third largest PA government ministry. That is, over 40 million shekels (i.e., 12 million dollars) a month, which the Palestinian Authority pays the prisoners, the released prisoners and their families.”
Karake: Prisoners and released prisoners should be given priority in available PA government positions 
Source: Official PA daily, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, May 22, 2015
Headline: “Karake calls for governmental and civil institutions to absorb the released prisoners as workers”
     “Director of PLO Commission of Prisoners’ Affairs Issa Karake called for the government and civil institutions to give priority to prisoners and released prisoners in available positions, in order to allow them to integrate into society and overcome the difficulties of life after release. Karake referred to the government decision and the President Mahmoud Abbas’ orders to give released [prisoners] priority in public positions. This is part of the preparation for their struggle and their victims, and an attempt to overcome the high level of unemployment in their ranks.”
Prisoners’ Affairs official calls for prisoners released in 1985 exchange deal to get higher salaries 
Source: Official PA daily, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, May 21, 2015
Headline: “Farwaneh calls for justice for those released in the [prisoner] exchange deal of 1985”
     “The Investigator of Prisoners’ Affairs [and Head of the Statistics Department of the PLO Commission of Prisoners’ Affairs] Abd Al-Nasser Farwaneh called for PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, PA Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah, PA Minister of Finance Dr. Shukri Bishara, Director of the [PLO] Commission of Prisoners’ Affairs Issa Karake, all national factions, and the Islamists to do justice for those freed in the [prisoner] exchange deal of 1985. This should be done in a way that will guarantee them and their families an appropriate level of dignified living, equal to those of their peers who were released on later occasions, and especially those released in the Shalit deal.
Farwaneh clarified that everyone released in the framework of the [prisoner] exchange deal in 1985, and who had served many years of their lives in the occupation’s prisons, more than ten years, had not received the financial grant that those recently released received, known as the ’Dignified Life Grant.’ Likewise, some of them are receiving a very limited salary in the framework of the pension system (insurance and pensions) [parentheses in source], and others among them are not serving as workers in the public sphere, but rather receive limited salaries from the Commission of Prisoners’ Affairs, only $600 to $750. However, these salaries do not provide them and their families with the minimal basic necessities of life as appropriate to their suffering and sacrifice, and other peers are receiving twice as much and even more, and the continuation of this situation will impact negatively on them and their families."
Abbas supervising PLO Commission of Prisoners’ Affairs, allegedly no longer under PA control  
Source: Official Palestinian Authority TV, May 9, 2015
PA TV News reader: “His Excellency President Mahmoud Abbas authorized the work regulations of the [PLO] Commission of Prisoners’ Affairs, which was phrased before it changed from a government ministry to a commission belonging to the PLO.”

Click to view PMW's special report: Is the PA lying to Western donors?
Prisoners’ Affairs commission releases statistics about Palestinian prisoners in Israel 
Source: Wattan TV (Palestinian private channel), Apr. 15, 2015
Headline: “The Commission of Prisoners and Released Prisoners' Affairs calls to persecute Israel for the crimes and violations it carried out against prisoners”

“As -
Palestinian Prisoners’ Day draws nearer (April 17), the [PLO] Commission of Prisoners and Released Prisoners' Affairs published a report regarding the situation and conditions of the Palestinian prisoners in the Israeli occupation’s prisons.

The report states:

The prisoners in numbers
- 6,500 prisoners
- 478 prisoners sentenced to one or more life sentences
- 21 female prisoners, including two minors
- 205 children under the age of 18
- 480 prisoners under administrative detention
- 13 members of parliament, in addition to two former ministers
- 1,500 prisoners suffering various illnesses, among them about 80 in extremely poor physical condition
- 30 prisoners who have been imprisoned since before the Oslo [Accords], more than 20 years ago
- In the case of 16 veteran prisoners, more than a quarter of a century has passed since they were arrested, among them the prisoners Karim and Maher Younes, who were arrested 33 years ago.

Note: Karim and Maher Younes: Israeli Arabs (cousins) serving a 40-year sentence for kidnapping and killing Israeli soldier Avraham Bromberg in 1980. Originally sentenced to life in prison, but Israeli President Shimon Peres reduced their sentences in 2012.
EU and Netherlands donate 31.6 million Euros for PA salaries 
Source: Official PA daily, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Apr. 3, 2015
Headline: “The European Union and the Netherlands donated 31.6 million euros to the PA’s salaries to its civil servants”
     “The European Union announced its contribution of 30.9 million euros yesterday [April 2, 2015] , to the payment of part of the salaries and pensions of around 68,000 civil servants and pensioners in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.”
From WAFA, official PA news agency
Prisoners’ Affairs director announces upcoming payment of salaries to prisoners 
Source: Official PA daily, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Apr. 3, 2015
Headline: “Salaries to prisoners on Sunday”
     “Prisoners’ Affairs Commission director [and PA Parliament Member] Issa Karake said that the prisoners’ salaries would be paid this coming Sunday [April 5, 2015].”
From WAFA, official PA news agency
PA Ministry of Finance: Budget cuts will not affect salaries for families of Martyrs 
Source: Official PA daily, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Mar. 8, 2015
Headline: “The Ministry of Finance will not apply the temporary [budget] cut to the salaries (ratib) of the families of the Martyrs and the wounded”
     “The National Union of the Families of the Martyrs (Shahids) of Palestine announced that [PA] Finance Minister Shukri Bishara had agreed to pay the families of the Martyrs and wounded their monthly allowances (mukhassas) in full, rather than the 60% of the allowance as [is done with] government employees.”

Note: The temporary cut follows Israel’s withholding of taxes from the PA.
Palestinian prisoners in Israel may do PA matriculation exams 
Source: Official PA daily, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Mar. 6, 2015
Headline: “Karake: The prisoners’ matriculation exams will take place on July 15”
     “Commission of Prisoners and Released Prisoners' Affairs Director [and PA Parliament Member] Issa Karake said that the matriculation exams of the prisoners in the prisons where the rules of acceptance apply will begin on July 15, 2015 and continue until July 30, 2015, according to an agreement between the Commission [of Prisoners and Released Prisoners' Affairs] and the [PA] Ministry of Higher Education. In a statement made yesterday [March 5, 2015], Karake thanked [PA] Minister of Education and Higher Education Dr. Khawla Shakhshir and the staff of the Ministry of Education for their cooperation, their interest in the prisoners’ [issue] and for making it possible for them to take the exams for the second consecutive year. [Karake added that] this constitutes an important step, a great achievement and a challenge to the prison authorities, who had stopped [offering] matriculation exams and university studies in 2009.”
Karake proves that PA still responsible for terrorists' salaries 
Source: Ajyal radio (independent Palestinian station), Mar. 6, 2015
 A statement from Issa Karake, the former PA Minister of Prisoners who became the Director of the PLO Commission on Prisoners, provides further evidence that the creation of the PLO Commission of Prisoners’ Affairs was a superficial change in name only that did not reflect any true change in its sources of funding. According to Karake’s statement, the employees of the PLO Commission of Prisoners’ Affairs are also paid their salaries directly from the PA government: 
    “[PLO] Commission of Prisoners and Released Prisoners' Affairs Director Issa Karake called on the [PA] government to pay the salaries of the Commission’s employees - in Gaza. Karake directed his appeal to [PA] Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah, stressing that the Commission’s employees in Gaza had not been paid their salaries this month. The government announced last Wednesday that it would pay [each employee] at least 2,000 shekels from the employees’ salaries, because of the continued freezing of [PA] tax money for the third consecutive month by the occupation government.” 
PA reduces salaries to prisoners to 60%  
Source: Wattan News Agency, Mar. 5, 2015
     “Coordinator of the Committee for Prisoners and Released Prisoners' Affairs Husni Zalum said that the salaries of the prisoners and released prisoners in the occupation prisons will be paid through the banks at noon today. Zalum told the Wattan News Agency that they had been notified by the [PA] Ministry of Finance about this, and that it would be made the same way as last month: A full salary will be paid to those entitled to less than 2,000 shekels per month, while 60% of the basic salary will be paid to those receiving a salary above 2,000 shekels.”
PLO Commission of Prisoners gives each prisoner 400 NIS as canteen money 
Source: Official PA daily, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Feb. 11, 2015
Headline: “Transfer of canteen money to the prisoners in the occupation prisons”
     “The Commission of Prisoners and Released Prisoners' Affairs emphasized yesterday [Jan. 10, 2015] that the canteen money had been transferred and delivered to the prisoners in the occupation prisons, after all efforts had been concentrated to end their suffering. The funds constitute their primary life line, which allows them to purchase food products and other needs. The Commission [of Prisoners and Released Prisoners' Affairs] said it had confirmed that these funds had reached all the prisoners in the prisons, and that the occupation was the reason for the delay that had occurred after it confiscated the funds of the Palestinian state because of personal political agendas.
The Commission clarified that 3 million shekels had been transferred to the prisoners, and that each prisoner had received 400 shekels. The Commission also clarified that it would always act in coordination with all the institutions involved to alleviate the suffering of these heroes who are standing firm, and that they would never be left to face this occupation and its vindictive policy alone.”
PA approves amendment that guarantees positions for released prisoners 
Source: Official PA daily, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Jan. 28, 2015
Headline: “Government intends to reshape financial ties with Israel – regulation to guarantee positions to prisoners approved”
     “The government decided to approve the amendment to Regulation 15 for 2013, which guarantees positions to released prisoners, in accordance with its previous decision to approve the suggestions of the technical committee responsible for reviewing the legislation regarding prisoners.”
PA daily: PA Ministry of Finance negotiates conditions under which salaries are paid to prisoners 
Source: Official PA daily, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Jan. 27, 2015
 An article in the official PA daily explained that it is the PA government and the PA Ministry of Finance and not the PLO that negotiates conditions under which salaries are paid to prisoners, again showing the PA is directly responsible for the salaries:
    “[The Released Prisoners’] Committee spokesman Omar Afaneh told Al-Hayat Al-Jadida that the Committee had come to an agreement with representatives of the [PA] government… according to which salaries would continue to be paid according to the legal criteria that was previously agreed upon, without any changes or additions to the previous agreement... Afaneh noted that the dispute centered on the conditions the [PA] Ministry of Finance recently set [for payments to released prisoners]…”

Click "full article" for a longer excerpt from the article
47% of Ministry of Finance's budget in Gaza goes to civil servants, prisoners and families 
Source: Official PA daily, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Jan. 6, 2015
     “The [PA] Ministry of Finance published a statement of clarification to the press yesterday evening, in which it responded to the declarations attributed to Hamas Deputy Political Bureau Chief Ismail Haniyeh. The statement reads as follows:
‘On the issue of the declarations made by Hamas Deputy Political Bureau Chief Ismail Haniyeh… who said that ‘There is no truth to the claim that what they [the PA] spend on Gaza is 55% of the PA budget,’ we in the Ministry of Finance believe that it is necessary to clarify that in practice, we transfer no less than 47% of our budget for the benefit of our brothers in the southern districts (i.e., the Gaza Strip). These expenses include the salaries of over 63,000 civilian and military employees, as well as the salaries of the prisoners, the released [prisoners] and the families of the Martyrs (Shahids) and wounded.’”
Commission of Prisoners’ and Released Prisoners’ Affairs: 6,500 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons 
Source: Official PA daily, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Dec. 30, 2014
     “According to the official Palestinian statistics of the Commission of Prisoners’ and Released Prisoners' Affairs, approximately 35% of the prisoners are married. The Al-Damir organization for prisoners’ rights noted that there are 6,500 Palestinian prisoners, serving various sentences in the occupation prisons. They include 478 prisoners sentenced for life, 463 prisoners sentenced to over 20 years in prison, 15 prisoners who have served over 25 years, 30 who have served over 20 years, and 30 who were arrested before the Oslo Accords.”
6,500 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons (as of December 2014) 
Source: WAFA, official PA news agency, Dec. 24, 2014
     “Abd Al-Nasser Farwaneh, Head of the Statistics Department of the Commission of Prisoners and Released Prisoners' Affairs … said that since last June 12 [2013], over 4,000 arrests were recorded, bringing the current number of prisoners and detainees to approximately 6,500… He noted that 478 prisoners were serving one or multiple life sentences…”
The PA stopped paying fines imposed by Israel on Palestinian prisoners 
Source: Official Palestinian Authority TV, Dec. 16, 2014
Official PA TV News:
Newsreader: “Prisoners’ Affairs Commission director [and PA Parliament member] Issa Karake announced that the [PA] government has stopped paying the fines continually imposed on the prisoners by the occupation courts. Karake clarified that the occupation courts demand high sums from the prisoners, and that 95% of the sentences are accompanied by fines, some of which are exceedingly high, and which are never repaid (i.e., as opposed to bail).”
Arafat initiated the PA practice of paying salaries to imprisoned Palestinian terrorists 
Source: Official Palestinian Authority TV, Nov. 10, 2014
Official PA TV News report on the weekly demonstration near the central headquarters of the Red Crescent in Gaza, at which families of the prisoners honored Yasser Arafat on the anniversary of his death. 

Muwaffaq Hamid of the Commission of Prisoners and Released Prisoners' Affairs: “These prisoners’ families are marking this anniversary [of Yasser Arafat’s death]. Each year, the prisoners’ families return and hold a ceremony marking the anniversary of the Martyrdom-death of the symbol and commander Yasser Arafat, out of loyalty to the prisoners and their families. For deceased Chairman Yasser Arafat, may he rest in peace, the man who founded the Ministry of Prisoners’ Affairs and initiated the [paying of] military salaries to every prisoner in the Israeli prisons, which suffices for the families of these prisoners to live in dignity.”
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