PMW Bulletins
PA chooses to fund terrorists over children’s education
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The PA chooses to fund terrorists 
over children’s education 
  • Until today there had been concern that UNRWA would not open 700 schools providing education for 320,000 PA children
  • UNRWA's claimed deficit of $217,000,000 is far less than the nearly $400,000,000 the PA pays yearly to terrorists and families of "Martyrs"
  • Instead of rewarding terror, the PA should fund the education of the Palestinian children
By Maurice Hirsch, Adv. and Itamar Marcus

Yesterday the Palestinian Authority made clear to the world that if forced to choose, it will pay salaries to terrorists rather than pay for the education of its children.

Recent reports claimed that UNRWA did not have enough money to open up the UNRWA school system for over 320,000 Palestinian children. UNRWA’s budget for the schools could easily be paid by the PA from the money it spends paying terrorist prisoners and families of so-called “Martyrs,” yet, last night Mahmoud Abbas announced on PA TV: “Israel considers them (i.e., terrorist prisoners) criminals... Even if we need to cut from our flesh, we will continue to give the support and aid.” [Official PA TV, Aug. 15, 2018]

He didn’t say a word about using money to open up the schools for Palestinian children.

Today, UNRWA Commissioner-General Pierre Krähenbühl
announced that the schools will open on time but the problem is not solved:

“While announcing today the opening of the school year, I wish to be clear that UNRWA is by no stretch of the imagination out of the woods. Since January 2018, UNRWA has mobilized $238 M of additional funding, which is very encouraging. However, we currently only have funding to run the Agency’s services until the end of September. We need a further $217 M to ensure that our schools not only open but can be run until the end of the year.”

For the year of 2018, the PA allocated 1.237 billion shekels to pay salaries to terrorist prisoners, released terrorist prisoners, the families of deceased terrorists and the wounded. These funds, paid to less than 100,000 people, are more than one third of the entire budget of the PA’s Ministry of Education (3.35 billion shekels) which provides educational services for over a million Palestinians.

UNRWA’s budget deficit - no more than 800 million shekels - is cumulative for all of the UNRWA run schools (including schools in Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon). In total, these schools provide education to 526,000 students, of which, according to the UNRWA 2017 annual report, less than 320,000 are resident in the PA controlled areas. Accordingly, the deficit to provide educational services to the students resident in the PA areas would be substantially less.

However, instead of bearing the responsibility to educate its children, the PA continuously rejects the demand that it cease paying terrorists and their families and relies on the international community to provide basic services.

Just 3 days ago, during a meeting between PA Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah and a delegation from the PLO Commission of Prisoners' Affairs led by the newly appointed Director of the Commission Qadri Abu Bakr, Hamdallah emphasized:

“The firm position of the leadership - led by [PA] President Mahmoud Abbas and the government - and its commitment to pay the allowances of the families of the Martyrs and prisoners... despite the challenges, the provision of all types of support to the Commission of Prisoners' Affairs in its lofty and patriotic activities for our brave prisoners in the occupation's prisons is continuing. He also emphasized that the prisoners are the spearhead of the Palestinian struggle, and that they are the ones who have sacrificed the years of their lives for our just cause."
[Ma’an, independent Palestinian news agency, Aug. 13, 2018]

The contrast between UNRWA’s financial crisis and the PA’s insistence on continuing to reward terrorism exposes and highlights how the PA shirks its responsibility to provide basic services to its people, relying instead on international aid so that it can continue its repugnant practice of rewarding terrorism.

Palestinian Media Watch calls on all the relevant actors, including the UN and PA donor countries, to demand that the PA prioritize the provision of education to its children rather than continue rewarding terrorism.

The following is the full text of the article referred to above:

Headline: "Hamdallah: We are continuing to provide all types of support to the prisoners"
"[PA] Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah met today (Monday) [Aug. 13, 2018] with a delegation from the [PLO] Commission of Prisoners' Affairs led by Director of the Commission Qadri Abu Bakr in his office in Ramallah ...
The prime minister again emphasized the firm position of the leadership - led by [PA] President Mahmoud Abbas and the government - and its commitment to pay the allowances (mukhassasat) of the families of the Martyrs (Shahids) and prisoners, despite the Israeli occupation’s decision and its threats to deduct these allowances from the Palestinian tax money (referring to Israeli law to deduct terror salaries from PA tax money - Ed.).
Hamdallah emphasized that despite the challenges, the provision of all types of support to the Commission of Prisoners' Affairs in its lofty and patriotic activities for our brave prisoners in the occupation's prisons is continuing. He also emphasized that the prisoners are the spearhead of the Palestinian struggle, and that they are the ones who have sacrificed the years of their lives for our just cause."
[Ma’an, independent Palestinian news agency, Aug. 13, 2018]