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Pay the doctors, not the terrorists!

Maurice Hirsch, Adv.  |

The Palestinian Authority narrowly avoided a strike of the Palestinian doctors. The doctors were set to strike because the PA has failed to implement promises it made to the doctors to improve their pay.

Explaining why it could not fulfill its promises to the doctors, the PA Ministry of Health blamed the “stoppage of external aid” and the effects of Israel’s Anti “Pay-for-Slay” law - the Israeli law designed to combat the PA’s huge payments to terrorists – what the PA Ministry of Health referred to as the “theft of tax money… as a result of the national position that adheres to principles”:

“The [PA] Ministry of Health called on the Doctor’s Union not to implement the measures of escalation that were announced in a statement it issued on Feb. 25 [2022], and not to turn to a strike in the [PA] governmental health sector at this difficult and sensitive time…

The ministry said that the [PA] government and the ministry are in a difficult situation in light of the lack of financial resources, the stoppage of external aid, and the theft of tax money by the occupation and it taking a large part of our money as a result of the national position that adheres to the principles. The ministry also noted that the political pressures that the Israeli occupation authorities are exerting on the leadership have caused a suffocating financial crisis that still exists.”

[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, March 4, 2022]

Indeed, since Palestinian Media Watch exposed the PA’s payments to terrorists, foreign aid to the PA has dropped by 90%. A substantial part of the foreign aid was lost when the US passed the Taylor Force Act, which conditions the bulk of US aid to the PA on its abolition of its payments to terrorists. 

At the same time, Israel’s Anti “Pay-for-Slay” law, is also having an increased effect.

However, despite the mounting pressure, the PA stubbornly clings to “the national position that adheres to principles,” and insists on continuing to reward terrorists.

A comparison of the PA’s payments to terrorists, with the PA’s payments to the Palestinian doctors, clearly demonstrates the PA’s distorted priorities.

The PA pays every Palestinian terrorist arrested by Israel a monthly salary. The starting terrorist “salary” of 1,400 shekels ($450) rises automatically with time spent in prison, reaching a huge 12,000 shekels ($3,859). The following chart, based on the PA’s 2004 Law of Prisoners and Released Prisoners and its implementing regulations, shows the terrorist prisoners “pay scale”:

In the background of the potential doctors’ strike, the Palestinian Union of Doctors claimed that the basic salary of a general doctor is 5,500 shekels per month while a specialist earns 6,800 shekels per month. After 20 years, the salaries grow to 7,000 and 8,800 shekels respectively. [Aliqtisadi website, Apr. 29, 2021]

If one compares the monthly salary of a doctor, after 7 years of study - 5,500 shekels - to that of an imprisoned terrorist who has already spent 7 years in prison - 4,000 shekels - and also take into account that the terrorist has no expenses whatsoever, it’s clear which “profession” - terrorist or doctor - the PA prioritizes. That prioritization is even clearer when 20 years of “professional experience” is taken into account. While the PA pays a specialist doctor with 20 years’ experience (after 7 years of study) a measly 8,800 shekels ($2,678) a month, it pays the terrorist who has spent the same 27 years in prison 10,000 shekels ($3,215) per month.

Moreover, according to financial reports published by the PA, in the entire year of 2021, the PA wage bill for the entire Ministry of Health (employees of the ministry, doctors, nurses etc.) was 892,607,850 shekels.

While the PA is doing its utmost to hide its terror payments, PMW estimates that in 2021 the PA spent 840 million shekels ($256 million) paying financial rewards to imprisoned terrorists, released terrorists, wounded terrorists and the families of dead terrorists.

In other words, if the PA would only stop paying hundreds of millions of shekels/dollars a year to terrorists, the PA coffers could swell, the international community could restore its aid to the PA, punitive Israeli sanctions would be cancelled, and the PA would be able to double the salaries of the Palestinian doctors.

It’s all a question of priorities!

Israel's Anti "Pay-for-Slay" Law - Israeli law stating that the PA payments to terrorists and the families of dead terrorists is a financial incentive to terror. The law instructs the state to deduct and freeze the amount of money the PA pays in salaries to imprisoned terrorists and families of "Martyrs" from the tax money Israel collects for the PA. Should the PA stop these payments for a full year, the Israeli government would have the option of giving all or part of the frozen money to the PA.

The law was enacted by the Israeli Parliament on July 2, 2018. During the parliamentary vote, the law's sponsor Avi Dichter said: “The Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee received much help in its deliberations... from Palestinian Media Watch who provided us with authentic data that enabled productive and professional deliberations, nuances that are very difficult to achieve without precise data.” [Israeli Parliament website, July 2, 2018] In accordance with the law, as of September 2021 Israel’s Security Cabinet had ordered the freeze of 1.857 billion shekels ($580.15 million) - the sum equivalent to the PA payments to terrorists in 2018, 2019, and 2020.