Israeli news outlet 'The Jerusalem Post' reports on Palestinian Media Watch's letter to Palestinian banks, cautioning them to stop paying PA terror salaries
PA distributes illegal 'pay for slay' salaries at post offices
While banks in Palestinian Authority controlled areas closed 35,000 illegal accounts set up to pay terrorists and their families after being warned by the Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) of the criminal and legal consequences, the PA has continued to distribute 'pay for slay' salaries through their postal offices beginning on April 6th.
"Currently the prisoners are standing and pleading to receive salaries that will support them. The sentence I heard the most today from the released prisoners is that we are standing like beggars to receive these salaries. It is not fitting for the prisoners and their struggle that we stand like this in front of the post office," read an account on the distribution from released Palestinian prisoner, Arafat Barghouti, on Al-Araby Al-Jadeed, a UK Arab new website.
The PA’s payment of monthly salaries to terrorists imprisoned by Israel became a prohibited terror-financing action in February 2020 when Israel's 2016 Anti-Terror Law to the West Bank was amended.
The new legislation declared, “that any person who conducts any transaction with assets, including money, in order to facilitate, further, fund, or reward a person for carrying out terror-related offences, is himself committing an offence punishable with 10 years in prison and a substantial fine.”
Following the amendment, the PMW sent letters in April 2020 to warn the bank heads that if they continue to provide bank accounts facilitating the PA’s paying of salaries to terrorist prisoners, they could face personal criminal liability as well as expose their banks to civil lawsuits from terror victims worth hundreds of millions of shekels.
The media watchdog also noted that continued facilitating of financial support to imprisoned terrorists could lead to seizure of the incriminated bank accounts.
While the banks complied and closed the accounts, the PA turned to alternative methods, such as post offices, to continue the 'pay for slay' program.
"Salaries of the prisoners and released prisoners will be paid tomorrow, Tuesday, through the Palestinian post office branches in all districts of the West Bank, and through the commission’s departments in the Gaza Strip,” PA-funded Commission of Prisoners’ Affairs announced on Ma’an, an independent Palestinian news agency on Monday.
The Commission of Prisoners’ Affairs added that the transition occurred after the banks' refusal "to accept the salary sheets of the prisoners and released prisoners due to the Israeli threats to harm and sue them," likely referring to the PMW's warning letter.
"The banks need to do what is required of them. They are in the Palestinian territories, and they must pay a price, even if pressures are exerted on them by the occupation," Barghouti, the released prisoner urged the banks to re-open the accounts despite the "Israeli threats."
The PMW informed Israel's Defense Minister Benny Gantz of the PA's continued 'pay for slay' attempts, as under the amendment, the government seizes terror finance funds from the PA.