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Palestinian ploy to deceive donors
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Palestinian ploy to deceive donors

 

PA will stop giving $130 million a year 

to terrorist prisoners,

but PLO will pay the terrorists instead

 

Donors will continue funding the PA

and the PA will continue funding the PLO

 

PA scheme is to avoid "international pressure"

from "donor countries"

and prevent "forces of the US Congress or some European parliaments to attempt to blackmail the PA"

 

PA daily Al-Ayyam:

"This would be a change of name and nothing more... 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.'"

[Al-Ayyam, June 1, 2014]

PA Deputy Minister of Prisoners' Affairs Ziyad Abu Ein:

"This would also avoid the pressure being exerted on the PA by the donor countries, which oppose the transfer of their money to prisoners."

[Wattan News Agency, May 31, 2014]

 

PA Deputy Minister of Prisoners' Affairs Ziyad Abu Ein:

"We eliminate the international pressure and the attempts to tamper with this issue... The [PA] 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."

[Official PA TV, June 1, 2014]

 

PA Deputy Minister of Prisoners' Affairs Abu Ein: 

The PA's current payments of $130 million a year in prisoners salaries will now be done through the PLO. These and other payments (which amounted to a total of $103 million in 2013- PMW) will reach at least $130 million in 2014.

by Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik

 

 

 

The Palestinian Authority has been under pressure from international donors following Palestinian Media Watch's exposure of the PA's policy of rewarding terrorists with salaries. These salaries amounted to a total of $103 million in 2013 and will reach at least $130 million in 2014. Members of US Congress have recently suggested deducting the amount paid in salaries from US funding to the PA. Similarly, Norway and Britain have been demanding clarifications and changes to their funding of the PA, and the Dutch Parliament passed a motion that its government must do something to stop the salaries. 

In order to avoid this international pressure, the PA is planning a ploy to maintain the salaries but transfer responsibility for payments from the PA to the PLO. PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas is also the head of the PLO and he will continue to be directly responsible for the payments to the prisoners. (See below)

 

The PA expects that this ploy will work. The PA daily Al-Ayyam reported that "well-informed sources" stated that "turning the Ministry of Prisoners' Affairs into a commission subordinate to the PLO" "would be a change of name and nothing more, which would in no way affect the roles and duties that the Ministry [of Prisoners' Affairs] fulfilled." [Al-Ayyam, June 1, 2014] Accordingly, US and European donor money will continue to flow to the PA, the PA will pass the money to the PLO, and the PLO will pay the salaries of the terrorists.

 
Palestinian sources specified that this move was in response to US and EU pressure not to pay salaries to terrorists with their donor money.
 
"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." 
[Al-Ayyam, June 1, 2014]

PMW reported last week on what the PA daily calls "forces of the US Congress," who are against paying salaries to terrorists. During the testimony by Assistant Secretary of State, Ambassador Anne W. Patterson at a congressional Subcommittee Hearing, Congressman Weber asked:

"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?"
 
Assistant Secretary Patterson answered:
 
"Frankly, I know that they're going to try and phase that out and we should give them an opportunity to do so." [House Committee on Foreign Affairs' website, April 29, 2014]
 
At the time, PMW wrote that the PA had never indicated that they would cut back payments to terrorists, and that in fact the payments were increasing in 2014. There had been no evidence of what Assistant Secretary Patterson referred to as the PA "phasing out" their salary payments to terrorists. It may be that this PA ploy - to keep the benefits and salaries at the same level but bypass Congressional pressure by moving it to the PLO - is what the PA presented to Patterson as a "phasing out" of the salary program.
 
Official PA sources confirmed that the purpose is to avoid pressure from donor countries who don't want to fund terrorists, and they stressed that the change is only cosmetic. PA Deputy Minister of Prisoners' Affairs Ziyad Abu Ein explained on PA TV that the massive funding of prisoners has been increased by PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas and that the money for prisoners under the PLO will also be administered by Abbas:
 
"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' Commission, which will belong to the PLO, to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and to the Executive Committee of the PLO."
 
[Official PA TV, June 1, 2014]

In another interview, the Deputy Minister of Prisoners' Affairs added that Israel has been complaining about the salaries to prisoners and the way terrorist murderers have been glorified by the PA. Palestinian Media Watch has been supplying the international community with this information in real time, resulting in extreme criticism of the PA. In this interview, Abu Ein also announced that the current payments for prisoners amount to 37 million shekels a month, which is $130 million a year:

"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."
[Wattan News Agency, May 31, 2014]

Apparently, this new commission will be set up shortly and the prisoners will continue to receive the same financial salaries and other benefits:
 
"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 Commission 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 a Commission, or an association."
 
[Ma'an, independent Palestinian news agency, June 2, 2014]
 

Should this PLO Prisoners Commission be set up as planned by the PA, PMW will continue its reporting on the PA payments to terrorists from all PA and PLO sources.


Click to view more on
PA salaries to terrorists.

 

 

 


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