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Washington Free Beacon quotes PMW findings in article on PA noncompliance with US legislation on terror salaries

Adam Kredo  |

Terrorists With U.S. Taxpayer Funds,
Defying U.S. Law

PA defies new U.S. law, hails U.S. subsidized payments to terrorists

The Palestinian Authority is continuing to pay out salaries to convicted terrorists using funds provided by the American taxpayer, a policy that defies a recent U.S. law mandating the PA stop these subsidies or face a cutoff in U.S. aid dollars, according to U.S. and Israeli lawmakers who spoke to the Washington Free Beacon.

Palestinian officials in recent days have rejected a new U.S. law, known as the Taylor Force Act, or TFA, that bans the PA government from providing salaries to terrorists and their families, a longstanding policy that had become the center of controversy after it was found U.S. taxpayer aid dollars to the Palestinians had been used to subsidize this practice.

While the Taylor Force Act—named after an American who was killed by a Palestinian terror attack in 2016—mandates the PA cease these payments or face a cutoff in U.S. aid, Palestinian officials have made clear in recent days they have no intention of ending this practice of funneling U.S aid dollars to the Palestinian Authority Martyr's Fund.

Palestinian leaders have continued to praise the so-called "pay-to-slay" policy since the TFA's passage, prompting outrage and concerns from Israeli and U.S. lawmakers who spoke to the Free Beacon about the situation.

Rather than obfuscate these payments, as the PA did for many years to avoid public disclosure, Palestinian officials have begun to brag about them. Mahmoud Abbas, the PA's longstanding president, vowed to continue these payments and defy the new U.S. law earlier this year.

"There is something that the Americans are telling us to stop—the salaries of the martyrs and the martyrs' families," Abbas said in January, when the new law was being debated in Congress. "Of course we categorically reject this. We will not under any circumstances allow anyone to harm the families of the prisoners, the wounded, and the martyrs. They are our children and they are our families. They honor us, and we will continue to pay them before the living."

The 2018 PA budget further codifies this policy, according to Palestinian Media Watch, or PMW, an organization that tracks governments in the region.

The PA's new budget is reported to allocate nearly 8 percent of its total operational budget to the martyr's fund, according to PMW. This amounts to around 44 percent of total foreign aid dollars budgeted to the PA, or about $355 million in U.S. dollars.

Just days after the United States passed the TFA, a PA government spokesman doubled down on the policy.

"In the eyes of our people, our nation, and our cause, the martyrs and prisoners are sacred symbols of freedom, struggle, protecting human dignity, and resistance to submission and humiliation," the spokesman was quoted as saying, according to PMW. All of these titles are noble titles, and an anchored right of all humans, which cannot be bought or sold for any fortune in the world."