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PMW Special Report: Israel must implement 2nd half of anti-“Pay-for-Slay” law before the end of 2019

Maurice Hirsch, Adv., Itamar Marcus, and Nan Jacques Zilberdik  |

PMW Special Report

Israel must implement 2nd half of anti-“Pay-for-Slay” law before the end of 2019

Israel must deduct from transfers to PA in 2019 an additional 241 million shekels - the amount the PA paid to families of terrorist “Martyrs” in 2018 

  • 5 years ago today, two terrorists murdered 6 Israelis with knives and axes in a synagogue in West Jerusalem. The victims included rabbis, American citizens, and an Israeli Druze policeman. The terrorists were killed during their attack. 

  • Since the massacre, the PA has paid the families of these terrorist murderers no less than 204,000 shekels (almost $60,000) simply because their relatives murdered Israelis.

  • Israeli law demands that Israel deduct from tax transfers to the PA in 2019 the amount that the PA paid in 2018 to terrorist prisoners and to families of dead terrorists – so-called “Martyrs.”

  • Since February, the Israeli government has been deducting approximately 41 million shekels each month, 1/12 of the amount the PA paid to terrorist prisoners in 2018, which was 502 million shekels.

  • In order to comply with Israeli law, the government must also deduct the full amount paid to families of dead terrorists by the end of 2019. 

  • This PMW special report shows that the additional amount that Israel must deduct from its tax transfers to the PA in the next two months is at least 241 million shekels – the sum the PA paid to families of dead terrorist “Martyrs” in 2018.

  • PMW has calculated that there are at least 5,666 dead terrorists who were killed from September 2000 to the end of 2018 and whose families received an estimated 95 million shekels ($25.4 million) from the PA in 2018.

  • PMW estimates that there are another 2,640 dead terrorists who were killed between 1970 and the end of 1999 and whose families received an estimated 44 million shekels ($11.8 million) from the PA in 2018.

  • PMW estimates that there are another 6,000 families of dead terrorists not living in Israel or the PA areas who received an estimated 100 million shekels ($26.7 million) from the PA in 2018.

  • Since the PA hides the numbers of killed “Martyrs,” these PMW calculations are based on figures published by the B’Tselem organization, the PA itself, the Israeli Security Agency, and other sources.

  • The PA gave out one-time grants of 6,000 shekels ($1,667) per terrorist to families of all terrorists killed in 2018. In total, the PA paid approx. 1.1 million shekels ($294,000) in one-time grants in 2018.

  • In addition, there are the other benefits that the PA grants to relatives of dead terrorists and to wounded terrorists that greatly increase the PA expenditure rewarding terror that PMW is unable to calculate.

Introduction  

Since its establishment, the Palestinian Authority has been paying monthly salaries to terrorist prisoners and released prisoners, and monthly allowances to the families of so-called “Martyrs,” as well as to the “wounded.” In July 2018, Israel passed a law to deduct the amount that the PA spends to reward terror from the tax money Israel collects and transfers monthly to the PA. The Israeli law demands that the government deduct the amount the PA transfers to “terror activists” and their families. 

Since February 2019, the Israeli government has been deducting the money the PA paid to terrorist prisoners in 2018, which equals 502 million shekels. This was the sum that Palestinian Media Watch exposed the PA had admitted to paying to terrorist prisoners and released prisoners in 2018. Israel made no decision regarding the hundreds of millions of shekels the PA paid – and still pays – to the wounded terrorists and to the families of dead terrorists.

Publicizing the decision, the communiqué of the Security Cabinet added:  

“Prime Minister and Defense Minister Benjamin Netanyahu instructed security officials to step up checks on additional Palestinian Authority payments linked to terrorism, including those to terrorists and their families. The amount frozen will be updated as per the information received."

[Israeli Prime Minister's Office, Feb. 17, 2019]

However, since then no additional decision has been made, in part because calculating the precise figure paid to dead terrorists’ families is very complex, as will be shown.

In response to Israel's deductions, until September 2019 the PA refused to accept any of the money Israel transferred, creating a major self-inflicted financial crisis in the PA areas. Now that the PA has started accepting tax transfers from Israel in spite of the deductions, it is a fitting time for the government to implement the second deduction required under Israeli law. 

As stated, calculating the precise amount of money going to families of dead terrorists is more complex. PMW has now prepared a report documenting the minimal amount of money the PA is paying to families of dead terrorists. The report is being shared with the Israeli government. 

For the purpose of this report, PMW has used Israel’s definition of “terror activists,” which includes everyone involved in the full range of terror activities under Israeli law, including being a member of a Palestinian terrorist organization. 

PA Payments to Families of Terrorist “Martyrs” in 2018

While it is relatively easy to quantify the PA’s payments to terrorist prisoners and released prisoners, which were no less than 502 million shekels ($134.2 million; $1 = 3.74 shekels)
in 2018, quantifying the payments to the families of the dead terrorists and to the wounded terrorists is much harder, for a number of reasons.

First, the PA budget for 2018 had one listing of 687 million shekels )$183.7 million) for “Martyrs and wounded.” This amount includes four categories of recipients:

1.    Families of terrorist “Martyrs”; 
2.    Wounded terrorists; 
3.    Families of “non-combatants” who were killed; 
4.    “Non-combatants” who were injured. 

According to the PA budget, there are 37,500 recipients in these four categories. Israel’s law requires that Israel deduct only the amount paid as rewards to the recipients in the first two categories – families of dead terrorists or wounded terrorists. However, the PA publishes no figures as to how many are in each category.

Another difficulty in calculating the exact number is that the PA does not make the payments directly, but rather transfers the money to the PLO’s Families of the Martyrs and Wounded Institution, which then pays the families. The PLO’s payments are not transparent, and therefore it is impossible to precisely know how much of the PA’s money went to the families of dead terrorists or to wounded terrorists. 

Significantly, sworn testimony of a senior figure in the PLO’s Families of the Martyrs and Wounded Institution, who appeared in an Israeli court on behalf of the PA, confirms that the institute is funded solely by the PA. 

In addition, while the imprisoned terrorists and released terrorists’ eligibility to receive a monthly salary and their additional benefits are determined by the PA’s laws and regulations, which are public, the money that is paid to the families of the dead terrorists and to the wounded terrorists is not determined by the PA’s laws, but rather by the PLO’s internal practices.

In order to fill this vacuum, PMW looked into numerous open sources that provide details of the numbers of dead terrorists over decades, and concluded that Israel can prove that there were at least 14,300 dead terrorists to whose families the PA was paying a monthly payment in 2018. The number of dead terrorists is based on information published by B’Tselem, the PA, the Israel Security Agency (ISA), and other historical data regarding conflicts with Palestinian terrorist organizations. 

The following chart shows these numbers: 

Explanation of the above chart
On B’Tselem’s website there are numerous tables that provide details of the circumstances in which thousands of Palestinians died from September 2000 to December 2018. PMW reviewed these thousands of entries and found that 5,296 Palestinians who meet Israel’s definition of “terrorist activist” were killed in that period.

B’Tselem’s numbers should be seen as minimum figures, since for a number of conflicts other organizations, such as the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center, have found much higher numbers for dead terrorists than B’Tselem. However, since B’Tselem has the most extensive available database, and since it openly criticizes the State of Israel, its figures of Palestinians killed while participating in terrorist activity do serve as a reliable minimum number.

From September 2000 through December 2018, WAFA, the PA’s official news agency, reported a total of 12,886 “Martyrs.” Accordingly, B’Tselem’s numbers for dead terrorists (5,296), during the same period, is 40% of the PA’s “Martyrs.”

This percentage is important as neither the PA nor B’Tselem provide details of the circumstances in which the Palestinians killed prior to 2000 died. However, the PA does list names of approx. 6,600 “Martyrs” from 1970 - 2000. Assuming that the same 40% of total Martyrs in that earlier period as well were “terrorist activists,” PMW estimates that from 1970 – 2000, there were 2,640 “terror activists” killed. 

B’Tselem’s tables do not include suicide bombers or those terrorists who died in Israeli prisons. The Israel Security Agency lists 146 suicide bombers from September 2000 through December 2009, and the PA lists 219 terrorists who died in Israeli prisons from 1967 through December 2018. 

B’Tselem’s figures include only Palestinians who were killed in the areas of the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and Israel. However, according to the PA budget, the PA pays allowances to an additional 13,500 families of “Martyrs” and injured living abroad. In order to deduct the PA payments to this group, Israel must determine how many of them it can show were “terrorist activists.”

PMW has looked at a few select battles in which estimates of casualties exists in order to calculate minimum figures of those who meet the definition of a “terrorist activist,” as defined by Israel’s deduction law.

During the 1982 First Lebanon War an estimated 2,400 PLO terrorists were killed, according to Richard Gabriel, Operation Peace for Galilee, The Israeli-PLO War in Lebanon.

During the 1967-1970 War of Attrition an estimated 100 PLO terrorists were killed, according to Sam Katz, Israeli Elite Units since 1948.

During the events of “Black September” in 1970 an estimated 3,400 PLO terrorists were killed, according to John Bulloch, The Making of a War. Even though these terrorists were killed by the Jordanian army, they are included in this report since those killed were members of the PLO terrorist organization that was actively involved in terrorist attacks against Israel, which entitles their families to payment.  

During the 1968 Karameh battle an estimated 128 PLO terrorists were killed, according to Guy Bechor, Lexicon of the PLO.

Cumulatively, the number of Palestinian “terrorist activists” killed abroad in these four limited conflicts alone was just over 6,000. The actual number is certainly much higher. 

Together with the previous figures above, the total minimum number of dead “terrorist activists” whose families are receiving a monthly allowance from the PA is at least 14,300.

In addition to these monthly payments, the PA, right after terrorists are killed, gives a one-time grant of 6,000 shekels to their families. At least 188 terrorists were killed in 2018, according to B’Tselem.
 
It should be noted that while the monthly amount paid by the PA to the families of the dead terrorists is not specified in PA law, the amounts, as shown in the chart below, were revealed in a rare interview with Secretary-General of the National Association of the Families of the Martyrs of Palestine Muhammad Sbeihat.

Accordingly, the families of at least 14,300 dead terrorists are receiving at least 1,400 shekels/month. Adding the one-time grants, the total PA payments in 2018 were at least 241 million shekels ($64.4 million).

It is important to stress that PMW’s calculations are minimum calculations. As the table above shows, the families of dead terrorists who were married and/or had children are entitled to receive additional payments. There is no available information as to how many of the dead terrorists were married or had children. 

Similarly, there is no information available as to the number of wounded recipients who were terrorists. 

Additionally, there is no information available regarding the many other benefits paid by the PA to the families of dead terrorists or the wounded terrorists, which include the payments in the chart below:

These additions and benefits significantly raise the total of the PA’s payments to the families of the dead terrorists and to the wounded terrorists.

Summary: Total minimum PA payments to reward terror in 2018 

  • The PA’s payments to the prisoners and released prisoners, according to the PA’s published figures, was no less than 502 million shekels ($134.2 million) 
  • The PA’s payments to families of dead terrorists was at least 241 million shekels ($64.4 million)
     
  • The total for the PA’s terror reward payments in 2018 was no less than 743 million shekels ($198.6 million)

PMW has supplied this information to Israel's Ministry of Defense to assist it in determining the amount that Israel must deduct. It is PMW’s assessment that with the ministry's access to intelligence sources, much of the information regarding additional PA payments to the wounded terrorists and families of dead terrorists, which is unavailable to PMW, will make the government’s final figures significantly higher than PMW’s total of 743 million shekels.


The following is an excerpt of the interview with Secretary-General of the National Association of the Families of the Martyrs of Palestine Muhammad Sbeihat, in which he revealed details about the PA’s payments to the families of terrorist “Martyrs”:

“Secretary-General of the National Association of the Families of the Martyrs of Palestine Muhammad Sbeihat said yesterday [April 24, 2013] that the government of Prime Minister Dr. Salam Fayyad has treated the Martyrs’ (Shahids’) families in the homeland and the Diaspora with unprecedented justice, and that their monthly allowances have been significantly increased during his term of office. …

Medical insurance

He explained that in the area of health, the Martyrs’ families now enjoy an insurance that is considered reasonable, despite a number of faults it suffers from in everything regarding the families of married Martyrs, as this insurance includes the Martyr’s wife and sons, but only includes his parents in exceptional cases.

The field of education
In the field of education, Sbeihat noted that the Martyrs’ sons, daughters, and wives are entitled to a full exemption from university fees for a first degree, and that is a mechanism which he considers reasonable, but in need of development in order to include the following stages of education, such as a second degree and doctorate, and to include the Martyrs’ families in the Diaspora, and not only the families living within the homeland.

Allowances
Regarding the monetary allowances, Sbeihat said: ‘Here there was the real disaster which required that we wage active organizational battles over the years, as the average monthly allowance for a single Martyr’s family at the beginning of the 90s ranged from 200 to 300 shekels, especially if he did not have military rank. At the same time, the family of a married Martyr in the same period received 400 to 700 shekels, according to the number of family members.’
He added that this situation created a great deal of emotional frustration among the Martyrs’ families, in addition to the disgraceful financial situation in which they lived, especially the wives and children of the Martyrs’ families, which pushed some of their children to leave their studies and go to work.

He [Sbeihat] continued: ‘…We say that Dr. Salam Fayyad’s term of office as Prime Minister and in the Ministry of Finance was a period during which the conditions of the Martyrs’ families began to significantly improve, and attention was directed to the conditions of the Martyrs’ families in the refugee camps in the Diaspora.’ 
Sbeihat noted that Fayyad agreed to increase the Martyrs’ families’ allowances at the end of 2007, in other words a number of months after he was appointed prime minister, so that the average allowance to a single Martyr’s family would be 650 shekels, and that of a married [Martyr] about 1,000 shekels, an increase of approximately 40 to 120 percent.


Increasing allowances again
Regarding the second time, and more precisely at the beginning of 2009, Sbeihat said: ‘Fayyad agreed to increase the allowances again, so that the minimum allowance of a single Martyr’s family would be 1,000 shekels, and the minimum allowance of a married Martyr’s family would be 1,300 shekels. Likewise, Fayyad made a decision to increase the monthly allowances a third time, in a most significant manner, and the work on that began on the first of July last year [2012].’
He emphasized that along with the decision to increase the allowances, the decision included a nice and very important gesture, giving equal treatment to families within the homeland and in the [refugee] camps in the Diaspora, for the first time in the history of the PA.
He added: ‘The allowances of some of the Martyrs’ families in the refugee camps in Lebanon and Syria were between $40 and $70, and in comparison, in the new system of payment, the allowances of most of the Martyrs’ families in the Diaspora were multiplied by seven or eight as the basic allowance of a Martyrs’ family in the Diaspora increased to $350, and this is in addition to supplements for a wife, children, and military rank, if such exist.’

He added that in the last additions the focus was on the families of the married Martyrs who left behind wives and children, which is very logical, and clarified that the wife of a Martyr who supports four children, and who received 1,500 shekels in the past, now receives an allowance of 2,600 Israeli shekels a month.
He explained that the prime minister’s last decision included an increase in the allowances of the wounded, who in the past received very low allowances, and now their situation is relatively similar to that of Martyrs’ families.
He noted that all the annual additions to the families of Martyrs and the wounded in the homeland and in the Diaspora, according to Fayyad’s last decision, are more than 74 million dollars a year.
Likewise he reviewed the last decision issued by Fayyad regarding the increase in the allowances of the families of the Martyrs and the wounded in the homeland and the Diaspora, which determined that the allowance of a Martyr’s family would be increased to 1,400 shekels, or an equivalent sum in dollars, in addition to the 400 shekel supplement for a wife, or an equivalent sum in dollars, and a 200 shekel supplement for children or an equivalent sum in dollars, for each son or daughter.

Supplement for children
He added: ‘This decision includes the payment of a supplement for children until they reach the age of 18, and the supplement continues for children who are studying, until the end of their first degree or until they reach the age of 26, whichever comes first. Likewise, the supplement continues for an unmarried daughter who does not work, and for handicapped children who prove that they cannot provide for themselves. The allowance will be paid to every Martyr’s family from the day of his death as a Martyr, and payment will begin on the date the Martyr’s file is approved.’
The decision included [the fact] that the approval of the Martyr and wounded file will be carried out by the Families of the Martyrs and Wounded Institution, in accordance with the laws and regulations that it issues. Likewise, a special monthly supplement of 300 shekels or its equivalent in dollars would be paid to the families of Martyrs and wounded from Jerusalem and the interior (i.e., Israel). If the Martyr had a number of wives, each one would receive her share of the allowance based on the full basic allowance, in addition to supplements that appear in this decision…

Allowances for the wounded
The eighth clause of this decision deals with the payment to the wounded of a percentage of the allowance paid to the Martyrs’ families, according to the degree of disability, so that a wounded with 75 percent disability or more will receive a full allowance, a wounded with 50 – 74 percent disability will receive 75 percent of the allowance, and a wounded with 40 – 49 percent disability will receive 50 percent of the allowance. At the same time, the death allowance abroad will be increased by the fixed sum of $50 a month.
According to the ninth clause, a special one-time grant of 6,000 Israeli shekels, or the equivalent amount in dollars will be paid to each Martyr’s family, after his Martyrdom.”

[Al-Ayyam, April 25, 2013]

Jerusalem Har Nof synagogue terror attack – Arab terrorists Ghassan and Uday Abu Jamal from East Jerusalem entered a synagogue in the Har Nof neighborhood of Jerusalem on Nov. 18, 2014, and attacked worshippers with guns, knives and axes, murdering 5 worshippers and a police officer. 7 people were injured, 3 of them seriously. The terrorists were killed in an exchange of fire with Israeli Security Forces that arrived on the scene. A year later, a 6th victim died of his wounds.

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