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PMW findings on salaries to terrorists featured in AIJAC op-ed

Tzvi Fleischer  |

PMW findings on salaries to terrorists featured in AIJAC op-ed

The Rewards of Mass Murder

"Readers are probably aware of the case of Ahed Tamimi, the Palestinian teen activist who slapped and kicked two Israeli soldiers back in January and also called for terrorist violence, saying all Palestinians 'must do things' such as 'stabbing attacks, or suicide attacks, or stone throwing' to help liberate Palestine. Tamimi has been much in the news since she was arrested in December, widely promoted as the poster child for the Palestinian cause, and then sentenced to eight months jail under a plea deal in March before being released in late July.

Readers are also probably aware of so-called “pay to slay” – the Palestinian Authority (PA) policy of paying substantial cash rewards and regular stipends both to Palestinians imprisoned for terrorist acts against Israelis, and also to the families of those Palestinians killed carrying out terror attacks. This has often been in the news since the US Congress passed the Taylor Force Act in March – restricting US aid to the PA until the “pay to slay” payments end. More recently, in early July, Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop announced Australia would be redirecting $10 million in Australian aid away from the PA and into UN aid programs largely to make sure that Australian money was not supporting “pay to slay.”

Well, the Israeli group Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) has done a calculation that brings together these two major news stories about Palestinian affairs over the past year – and helps reveal a pattern in Palestinian society.

PMW has researched the total payments given by the PA to the perpetrators of an infamous terror attack – the bombing of the Sbarro pizza parlour in Jerusalem on Aug. 9, 2001, 17 years ago. In that attack, 15 people were killed and dozens injured in an explosion set off in a crowded restaurant by suicide bomber Izz al-Din al-Masri. Seven of the fatalities were children, including Australian-Israeli 15-year old Malki Roth.

According to PMW, at least US$294,332 (around A$400,000) has since then been paid by the PA to the three key perpetrators of that bombing or to their families. The family of al-Masri has received at least US$50,124 as a reward for his suicide bombing, while the man who made the bomb, Abdallah Barghouti, now serving 67 life sentences, has received salary payments from the PA of at least $191,526.

The final recipient of PA largesse is the one that ties this story to that of Ahed Tamimi. Her aunt, Ahlam Tamimi, was the mastermind who coordinated the bombing, selected the target and drove the bomber to the restaurant. She was given 16 life sentences in 2001 – but was released in 2011 as part of the prisoner swap for kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit. PMW estimates she was given at least US$52,681 in “salary” by the PA while she was in prison.

While the sums involved may not sound all that high by Australian standards, it is worth noting that the payments involved are several times higher than the average wage in the Palestinian territories. The Palestinian Authority devotes around 8% of its total budget to payments to the families of terrorist “martyrs” like al-Masri and prisoners like Ahlam Tamimi and Abdallah Barghouti.

The point readers should understand from the above information is that the promotion, incitement and incentivisation of terror is deeply embedded in Palestinian society. It involves not only such payments but, for example, media reporting venerating “martyrdom operations”; official recognition by the PA of terrorists as heroes to be emulated, including by naming sports tournaments, buildings, schools and streets after them…"