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PA instructs banks not to close terrorist prisoners’ accounts, works to ‎incorporate released terrorists into PA institutions

Director of PLO Commission of Prisoners’ Affairs Qadri Abu Bakr: “We’ll ‎talk with the banks and take a position against closing any existing ‎account… Starting from Jan. 1, [2021], we paid [salaries] two months in ‎advance, so that there would be time to find a mechanism to pay the ‎prisoners and released prisoners. The prisoners also raised the topic of being ‎absorbed [into the PA institutions]… There are forms. Not everyone filled ‎them out, but we want to start with the forms that are ready. The prime ‎minister promised that in a few days there will be a decision on the matter... It ‎was emphasized that the prisoners’ cause – both those inside prison and ‎those outside – is a sacred cause that must not be harmed…‎

Independent Palestinian news agency Wattan host: “Have instructions ‎been given to the banks not to close the bank accounts?”‎

Qadri Abu Bakr: “Yes, through the central bank-”‎

Host: “Do you mean the [PA] Monetary Authority?”‎

Qadri Abu Bakr: “The Monetary Authority. The banks will be contacted ‎‎[about] not closing the existing accounts”‎ …‎

Host: “We also heard that the release grants will be paid later on?”‎

Qadri Abu Bakr: “Right. We have received a commitment from the [PA] ‎Ministry of Finance that their payment will be renewed… We will distribute ‎them according to the priorities, and Allah willing by the end of the year we ‎will finish [paying] all the grants.”‎

Host: “Has an amount been set? Is it true that $2 million per month will be ‎paid to the [PLO] Commission of Prisoners’ Affairs to pay [the released ‎prisoners]?‎”‎

Qadri Abu Bakr: “It’s a matter of 2, 1 million, 1.5 million…‎

Host: “It has been suggested to transfer [the salary payments] to the [PA] ‎Ministry of Welfare. Is that still an option, or has it been rejected by the ‎political echelon?”‎

Qadri Abu Bakr: “No, that is unacceptable to the prisoners and all the ‎political echelons.”‎

Israeli army legislation which applies parts of Israel's 2016 Anti-Terror Law to the West Bank (taking effect on May 9, 2020). The law prohibits numerous terror related offenses, including terror funding/rewarding and holds heads of terror organizations responsible for murder committed by members of the organization. The law criminalizes the provision of funds for or the payment of rewards for the commission of terrorist offenses, such as the salaries the PA pays to terrorist prisoners and released prisoners. The provision also applies to any person or body - such as a bank - that facilitates such funding or rewarding of terror offenses. Based on this last provision, PMW sent letters in April 2020 to the heads of banks in the PA areas warning them that they must freeze the accounts of terrorists and their proxies and transfer them to the Israeli army or face legal consequences.

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