As Biden meets with Abbas, Abbas raises the salaries of hundreds of terrorists
In their meeting on this coming Friday, Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas will pressure US President Joe Biden to renew the US aid to the PA. Abbas needs the renewed US aid to help him meet the ever-rising cost of the PA’s terror rewarding “Pay-for-Slay” policy. In essence, Abbas is going to ask President Biden to abolish the Taylor Force Act, or at the very least, bypass it and thereby desecrate its spirit.
The terrorist murderers Fahmi and Ramadan Mashahreh are just two of hundreds of Palestinian terrorist prisoners who have recently received or are about to receive a rise in salary from the Palestinian Authority.
Arrested in July 2002, the Mashahreh brothers are 2 of the terrorists responsible for the bus bombing on June 18, 2002, in which 19 people were murdered and tens were injured. The Mashahrehs are members of Hamas - the internationally designated terror organization - and were residents of Jerusalem, who used the freedom of movement enjoyed by Israeli residents to carry out their attack. Having now been in prison for 20 years, the PA considers the Mashahrehs to be “veteran prisoners.”
According to Palestinian “prisoners’ institutions”, the number of Palestinian terrorist prisoners held in Israeli prisons as of the end of June 2022 was “approximately 4,650.”
Among these prisoners are 233 so-called “veteran prisoners”. The report continued saying that the number of Palestinian “veteran prisoners” has more than doubled since the beginning of the 2022, when their number stood at 112. The report added that the number of “veteran prisoners” is set to continue rising as a result of the arrests of terrorists “during the Al-Aqsa Intifada in 2000 and during the invasion of the West Bank cities in 2002”:
“The prisoners’ institutions said that… the number of Palestinian prisoners being held in the occupation’s prisons stands at approximately 4,650 as of the end of June 2022. Among them are 30 female prisoners, 180 minors, and approximately 650 administrative detainees…
The institutions said that the list of veteran prisoners, which is a term the Palestinians give to those who have served over 20 consecutive years of imprisonment, rose in June to 233 prisoners.
Compared to the start of the current year, the number of prisoners on this list [then] stood at 112, and it is expected to rise in the coming days due to the numerous arrests carried out by the occupation forces against hundreds of Palestinians during the Al-Aqsa Intifada in 2000 (i.e., PA terror campaign 2000-2005, more than 1,100 Israelis murdered) and during the invasion of the West Bank cities in 2002.”
[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, July 8, 2022]
The “Al-Aqsa Intifada” is the Palestinian name for the PA instigated and controlled terror campaign that raged from September 2000 through 2005, and during which more than 1,100 Israelis were murdered.
From September 2000 through March 2002, Palestinian terrorists carried out approximately 14,000 terror attacks. During that period alone, more than 600 Israeli citizens and residents were killed and more than 4,500 were wounded. In the month of March 2002 alone, over 120 Israelis were murdered by Palestinian terrorists, in dozens of terror attacks. The most lethal of these attacks was the suicide bombing on the evening of the Passover festival in the Park Hotel in the Israeli city of Netanya, in which 29 people were murdered.
From 1996 until the end of March 2002, Israel predominantly refrained from entering “Area A” - the areas in Judea and Samaria from which Israeli forces had withdrawn and in which control had passed to the PA. While the PA was obligated to fight terror, in practice it was the PA who instigated, fueled, and controlled the terror. Instead of arresting the terrorists, “Area A” became a staging base for terror attacks against Israel and Israeli targets and a safe haven for the terrorists.
Israeli “Operation Defensive Shield”- referred to by the Palestinian “prisoners’ institutions” as the “invasions of the West Bank cities” - started immediately after the Park Hotel attack. Its goal was to arrest as many terrorists as possible and eliminate the terror cells. As of May 15, 2002, of the thousands arrested, 1,600 terrorists remained in Israeli detention.
The 2004 PA Law of Prisoners and Released Prisoners and its implementing regulations guarantee every Palestinian terrorist arrested by Israel a monthly salary simply as a reward for their participation in terror. Since these salaries go up with time spent in prison, it follows that as the number of “veteran prisoners” grows so too does the PA expenditure on these terrorists.
Of the 1,600 terrorists who were convicted, hundreds have already served their sentences and have been released. Hundreds of other terrorists, convicted for the most serious offences, including murder, are still in prison. Having now reached 20 years since “Operation Defensive Shield,” these terrorists are now enjoying a 14.28% rise in the monthly payment they receive from the PA, from 7,000 shekels ($2,251) to 8,000 shekels ($2,572).
Accordingly, the additional monthly and annual PA expenditure on its terror rewards is going up. The extra cost to the PA of the additional 121 “veteran prisoners” alone, is 121,000 shekels ($38,901) per month or 1,452,000 shekels ($466,818) per year.
The Mashahreh brothers provide a concrete example: Since their arrest in July 2002, through the end of June 2022, the PA paid the Mashahreh brothers a cumulative sum of 2,210,400 shekels ($710,740). Having completed 20 years in prison, the PA will now, according to PA law, raise the basic “salary” it pays them from 7,000 to 8,000 shekels per month. As residents of Jerusalem, the PA will also continue to pay them a special addition of 300 shekels ($96) per month. Since both of them were married, they also receive an additional 300 shekels for their wives. Accordingly, each of the terrorists will now receive 8,600 shekels per month, for the next 5 years. If the international community fails in its mission to make the PA abolish these payments, in 5 years, the terrorists will enjoy another pay rise of 20%. Eventually their “salaries” will rise to 12,600 shekels ($3,859) per month.
Passed in 2018, the US Taylor Force Act (TFA) conditions the bulk of US aid to the PA on the abolition of the PA’s payments to terrorist prisoners, released terrorists, wounded terrorist and the families of dead terrorists. Together, these payments are often referred to as the PA’s “Pay-for-Slay” policy.
As Palestinian Media Watch has shown, despite its elementary provisions, the PA has rejected TFA from the outset. Moreover, the legislation of TFA, Abbas has repeatedly promised, that even if the PA is left with just one penny, he will pay it to the terrorists. And as PMW has demonstrated, here, here, here, here & here, this Abbas promise is not mere lip service, but the actual PA policy.
Instead of bowing to the immoral demands of Abbas, President Biden must demonstrate clear moral fiber and demand that Abbas stop rewarding terrorists.