What connects PMW, the PA, helicopters, Lamborghinis, and terrorists?
Citing severe financial difficulties, the Palestinian Authority has been paying its employees only part of their salaries for the last year. Giving the employees little certainty, each month the PA announces what percentage of the salaries will be paid. The percentages range from 70% - 80%. The balance is presented as a PA debt to employees that will be paid at some future date.
While the PA employees bear the brunt of the alleged PA financial crisis, according to a new report in the Israeli Haaretz newspaper, the Israeli authorities have given the PA permission to buy helicopters to transport senior PA officials.
“Israel intends to permit the [Palestinian] Authority to purchase helicopters for the flights of senior officials, for the first time since 2001”
[Israeli Haaretz newspaper, Oct. 20, 2022]
In a seemingly unconnected announcement, a Palestinian internet site announced the imminent arrival of a new Lamborghini Huracán to an exhibition hall in Bethlehem.
[mashrqnews.com, October 23, 2022]
According to the report, the car will cost 2.5 million shekels (approximately $700,000), including a sizable sum in taxes.
So what connects these seemingly unconnected subjects?
The answer is simple: The PA’s terror-rewarding “Pay-for-Slay” policy.
The PA attributes its financial difficulties to two factors, a drastic drop in international aid and the implementation of Israel’s Anti “Pay-for-Slay” Law. As PA Prime Minister Muhammad Shtayyeh recently complained:
“At his office in Ramallah yesterday [Aug. 23, 2022, PA] Prime Minister Muhammad Shtayyeh received Head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) delegation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip Alexander Teman… The prime minister again emphasized that the crisis and severe financial situation that the [PA] government is undergoing is due to the decrease in international aid for Palestine and the continuation of the unfair Israeli deductions of our money...”
[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Aug. 24, 2022]
The PA Ministry of Finance made similar claims:
“The PA is currently facing a financial crossroads, with the deepening of the financial crisis after a number of months in which it has not succeeded in paying the salaries of its [public] employees in full or in fulfilling its commitments to the private sector…The PA’s financial situation is becoming worse and worse; foreign aid dropped from $1.3 billion in 2013 to just $313 million at the end of 2021… This is while the Israeli government has doubled the scope of the tax money robbery from 50 million [Israeli] shekels ($15 million) [all parentheses in source] a month to 100 million shekels ($33 million) starting from July and until December 2021.”
[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Aug. 4, 2022]
The PA’s terror-rewarding “Pay-for-Slay” policy has two parts. One part covers the monthly salaries and other benefits that the PA pays and provides to imprisoned and released terrorists. The second part covers the monthly allowances and other benefits the PA pays to wounded terrorists and to the families of dead terrorists. Palestinian Media Watch was the first to uncover and expose the PA terror payments in 2011.
Since the policy clearly promotes, rewards, and incentivizes terror, it is certainly one of the PA policies that are most detrimental to achieving peace. While the full cost of the policy is not clear, PMW estimates that in 2021 alone it cost the PA no less than 841 million shekels ($270.75 million).
As PMW brought the evidence of the PA terror rewards to the PA’s donor countries around the world, international aid to the PA started to decline, as noted by the PA Ministry of Finance above. The Netherlands and Australia cut off all funding to the PA within weeks of their MPs hearing PMW presentations. The largest reduction in aid to the PA was from the United States, which passed the Taylor Force Act (TFA) in 2018.
Taylor Force was a graduate of the West Point US Military Academy and a veteran of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. While walking down the seaside promenade in Jaffa during his stay in Israel with his MBA college class, Taylor was murdered by a Palestinian terrorist who mistook him for a Jew. Enacted at the behest of Taylor’s parents, friends, and other invested parties, TFA conditions the bulk of US aid to the PA on the complete abolition of the “Pay-for-Slay” policy.
In parallel, Israel’s parliament also passed an Anti “Pay-for-Slay” Law. Pursuant to the Israeli-Palestinian Oslo Peace Accords, Israel collects and transfers to the PA billions of dollars a year in taxes. These taxes account for 65%-70% of the PA’s non-aid income. The PA uses the taxes it receives from Israel and the aid from donor countries to fund its terror reward policy.
Israel’s Anti “Pay-for-Slay” Law provides that every year, Israel will deduct from the tax income a sum equivalent to the PA’s expenditure on its “Pay-for-Slay” policy in the previous year. The deducted funds are held in a special account. Should the PA ever abolish its policy, the Anti “Pay-for-Slay” Law provides that Israel’s government would be allowed to transfer all or part of the cumulative deducted sums to the PA.
PMW played an integral role in the passage of the Anti “Pay-for-Slay” Law, as acknowledged by the head of the Israeli Parliament’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee in his speech presenting the bill for the final parliamentary vote.
So how is this connected to a Lamborghini Huracán?
In addition to the generous salaries the PA pays to the terrorists and released terrorists, the PA also provides them and their families with a list of benefits. One of the benefits is specifically for terrorists who spent 20 years or more in prison, i.e., the terrorists convicted for more serious and repeated offenses. According to a PA law from 2014, these terrorists are entitled to purchase a car free from tax.
In April 2002, after the PA initiated a terror war (starting September 2000) that had already included thousands of terror attacks that caused the deaths of over 1,000 people, Israeli forces launched Operation Defensive Shield. During and following the operation, Israel arrested thousands of Palestinian terrorists. Hundreds of them were prosecuted for murder and attempted murder, many on multiple counts. Hundreds were sentenced to 20+ years in prison.
The terrorists are now being released from prison. During their imprisonment, they will have been paid almost 1,000,000 shekels (nearly $300,000) by the PA. Upon release, according to PA Government Decision No. 15 of 2013 regarding the Regulation for Ensuring Jobs for Released Prisoners, the terrorists are given a one-time release grant of $10,000 - $12,000, and are guaranteed a position and salary in the PA equivalent to a “Class A2 Assistant to Deputy Minister” or a “Brigadier-General + seniority.”
Having received huge salaries while in prison, and now guaranteed huge salaries upon release, it is these terrorists who, after the tax reduction, will be able to buy the Lamborghini Huracán.
How is this connected to the helicopters?
As PMW has already demonstrated, the current Palestinian leadership has abandoned the PA as it was envisaged by the Oslo Accords. In its place, the Palestinian leadership has established a de facto dictatorship, plagued with corruption and nepotism. 86-year-old Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas will soon start the 19th year of his first 4-year term as chairman of the PA. In his position as dictator, Abbas has repeatedly promised that even if the PA is left with just one penny in its coffers, he will pay it first - before the PA doctors, teachers, or needy - to the terrorists.
Accordingly, when the entitled class of the Palestinian leadership allows itself to assume and wield complete, unfettered power, it sees no problem with buying helicopters to travel around in ease and comfort, while simultaneously claiming that it doesn’t have enough money to pay its legitimate employees.