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Israeli Ambassador to Norway responds to “prisoners’ salaries issue” exposed by PMW

Erlend Sundar  |
Israeli Ambassador to Norway responds to “prisoners’ salaries issue” exposed by PMW

PMW's new report "The PA's Billion Dollar Fraud" was presented to officials of the Norwegian Foreign Ministry and Members of Parliament. The report exposes that the Palestinian Authority continues to pay salaries to terrorist prisoners, contrary to its claim to donor countries to have stopped funding these salaries already in 2014. The report sparked a debate among three Norwegian political parties - all from the coalition - about whether to continue funding the PA. It also led to a debate in parliament with the Foreign Minister.

The following article was translated from Norwegian by PMW:

Headline: "Read the Israeli ambassador's comment to the 'prisoners’ salaries issue'"

By Erlend Sundar

“Today, Israel's ambassador to Norway, Raphael Schutz, commented on the ‘prisoners’ salaries issue’ [exposed by PMW] where the Palestinian Authority has supported Palestinian terrorists and their families with large sums of money.

He also specifically wished to comment on the following statement from the Norwegian Foreign Minister Børge Brende: ‘There are many Palestinians who actually are imprisoned in Israel for no reason, and where you can seriously question the due process. These funds that MP Syversen referred to also go to these groups.’

The following are the Israeli ambassador's comments on the issue:

‘No one can be imprisoned in Israel "for no reason.” All Palestinian prisoners in Israel go through a full trial in a criminal court. If the cases are tried in Israel, they go through the same proceedings as any other prisoner in Israel. If they are tried in military courts in the West Bank (which were established in accordance with the Fourth Geneva Convention), they have full legal rights (legal advice, the presumption of innocence, the same rules of evidence and procedural rules as in the Israeli criminal courts etc.).

Those who are held in administrative detention do not go through the criminal court and their guilt does not have to be proven in court. Although this is obviously not desired - to imprison a person without a trial - it is necessary when handling such security challenges as Israel does. Due process is followed according to the Fourth Geneva Convention.
The detainees are represented by an attorney and detention is guaranteed to go through a periodical judicial review. Most of these cases are reviewed by the Israeli Supreme Court, which has right of access as a third authority trying these cases.

It sends the wrong signals to both Israel and the PA, when the practice of rewarding Palestinians convicted of acts of terror against Israeli civilians continues.
It is in everyone's interest that the funding go to peace-building projects and constructive efforts in state-building and improvement of trust between Israelis and Palestinians.

Norway and AHLC (i.e., the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee, an international group of donors to the PA) play an important role in the peace process, and it is important to follow developments and to follow up on both parties.

In this case, it is important to transmit a clear message to President Abbas that widespread, institutionalized incitement to violence against the Jewish state, as we see it in Palestinian society, in schools and universities, in sports and in culture and PA media channels, damages the prospects for peace.’”