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PMW exclusive: PA gave 517.4 million shekels to terrorists as salaries in 2019

Maurice Hirsch, Adv.  |
  • As US President Trump demanded “halting the financial compensation to terrorists” PA documents just publicized show the PA admits to paying 517.4 million shekels in salaries to terrorists in 2019, a rise of 15 million shekels compared to 2018.
  • Israeli government stipulated that the PA spent 150 million shekels on the payments to wounded terrorists and the families of dead terrorist “Martyrs” in 2018 
  • PMW has calculated that this figure has grown by at least 1.6 million shekels, in 2019
  • Accordingly, in 2020, the Israeli Government must deduct no less than 669 million shekels from the taxes Israel collects and transfer to the PA

According to recently published Palestinian Authority financial reports, Palestinian Media Watch can expose that the PA has admitted to spending no less than 517.4 million shekels ($149.7 million/€136 million) paying salaries to terrorist prisoners and released prisoners in 2019. 

The PA expenditure on allowances to wounded terrorists and the families of dead terrorists was at least 151.6 million shekels in 2019. Accordingly, the total minimum PA expenditure in 2019 on its payments to terrorists and families of dead terrorists - its Pay-for-Slay policy- was 669 million shekels ($193.6 million/€175.8 million). 

In accordance with the Israeli law, Defense Minister Naftali Bennet should present the National Security Cabinet with a report showing that the PA expenditure on its Pay-for-Slay policy was no less than 669 million shekels. 

Israeli law demands that this figure be deducted from the monthly tax transfers Israel makes to the PA. 

Since created in 1994, the PA has implemented a “Pay-for-Slay” policy according to which it pays millions of shekels/dollars/euro every year in monthly salaries to reward Palestinian terrorist prisoners and released prisoners and monthly allowances to reward wounded terrorists and the families of dead terrorists (so-called “Martyrs”).  

The PA codified the policy in the Law of Prisoners and Released Prisoners in 2004. Since then, PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, has twice approved substantial hikes in the monthly salaries paid by the PA to the terrorists (2006, 2010).

According to sworn testimony given by a senior official on behalf of the PA, the PA payments to the wounded terrorists and families of dead terrorists are not codified in PA law, but rather only stipulated in undisclosed internal documents.

While the PA policy has been widely condemned, with four countries (Canada, the US, Australia, and Holland) cutting off all direct aid to the PA until the policy is abolished, and while the PA continues to request (and receive) considerable amounts of foreign aid, the PA itself carries on squandering hundreds of millions of shekels/dollars/euro on terrorist salaries every year, incentivizing and rewarding Palestinian terrorists.

In 2018, Israel passed a law to combat the PA policy. According to the law, at the end of each year, the Israeli Minister of Defense must submit a report to the National Security Cabinet detailing the PA expenditure on terrorist salaries and allowances in the passing year. Once the Cabinet approves the report, the PA expenditure in the passing year is deducted in twelve equal parts from the taxes that Israel collects and transfers to the PA in the coming year. 

The new Israeli law was first implemented in February 2019, after PMW exposed that the PA had admitted to spending no less than 502 million shekels to pay the monthly salaries to the terrorist prisoners and released prisoners in 2018. 

In response to the Israeli decision, Abbas positively decided to plunge the PA into a self-inflicted financial crisis by refusing to accept all the tax revenues from Israel, if Israel deducted any sum. Since the tax revenues account for almost half of the PA budget, rejecting their receipt had a substantial impact on the PA economy.

 To overcome the crisis, the PA decided to temporarily cut salaries to the law abiding PA employees by 50% and to suspend referrals of Palestinians for medical treatment in Israeli hospitals. The PA also attempted to hide its financial reports, until PMW highlighted these actions. However, at the same time, the PA doubled down on its commitment to pay the terrorist prisoners, continuing to pay them 100% of their salaries.

After 7 months, the PA finally capitulated and agreed to receive the taxes that remained after the deduction.

Following an additional PMW report on the subject of the PA payments to the wounded and the families of the dead terrorists, in late December 2019 the Israeli National Security Cabinet decided to deduct an additional sum of 150 million shekels. Since the number of wounded Palestinian terrorists and the number of Palestinian terrorists killed grew in 2019, it is reasonable to assume that the PA expenditure for these terrorists grew.

According to statistics published by the PA and Israeli NGO B’tselem, no fewer than 110 Palestinian terrorists were killed in 2019. Taking into account the different PA payments, the additional expense incurred by the PA was no less than 1.6 million shekels.

During the presentation of his new Middle East peace plan, - the deal of the century - US President Donald Trump stressed the need for the PA to abolish its policy of rewarding terrorists and murderers:

“To ensure a successful Palestinian state, we are asking the Palestinians to meet the challenges of peaceful co-existence.  This includes adopting basic laws enshrining human rights; protecting against financial and political corruption; stopping the malign activities of Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and other enemies of peace; ending the incitement of hatred against Israel — so important; and permanently halting the financial compensation to terrorists.” 

[, Jan. 28, 2020]

Whether the PA will suddenly listen to US President Trump – for whom the PA has only shown contempt - only time will tell, but until then, Israel – if it wants to abide by its own laws – should deduct no less than 669 million shekels ($193.6 million/€175.8 million) from its tax transfers to the PA in 2020.

In the meantime, while most of the world agrees that the PA practice of paying financial rewards to terrorists is despicable, the PA continues to waste ever-growing amounts of fungible donor aid to fund this policy. To help put an end to the PA’s “Pay-for-Slay” policy, the EU and more countries should make their aid conditional on the permanent abolishment of the policy.