Germany’s Foreign Ministry has acknowledged that German aid money is likely being used to provide funds to terrorists and their families, The Times of Israel reported Monday.
“There are Palestinian institutions that issue payments to the families of those who were killed or injured, which includes family members of the perpetrators,” Maria Böhmer, a MP and under secretary in the Foreign Ministry, wrote in a letter to Volker Beck, the chair of the German-Israeli Parliamentary Friendship Group. Böhmer acknowledged that “family members from Palestinians who injured or killed Israeli security forces are supported…apparently from the budget of the Palestinian Authority,” The Jerusalem Post reported.
This is believed to be the first official acknowledgment from the German government that the PA financially supports terrorism.
Germany does not directly fund payments to terrorists and their families, Böhmer stressed, though it does pay for developmental projects in the PA. The German government had previously denied that it had any knowledge of PA payments to families of terrorists. “It is unclear why the foreign ministry walked back its lack of a response and affirmed that the PA is likely involved in financing terrorism,” the Post wrote.
Böhmer was responding to a question from Volker Beck, the Green MP and chair of the Parliamentary Friendship Group, who said after receiving the letter that it was “good that the lack of willingness on the part of the federal government to know has now ended.”
The Palestinian Authority’s practice of issuing payments to terrorists and their families has come under increased scrutiny in recent months, with critics calling for more transparency in the distribution of foreign aid payment to Palestinians, who are the largest per capita recipients of international development aid in the world. A Global Humanitarian Assistance report cited by Israeli MK Tzipi Hotovely in The Wall Street Journal in January found that Palestinians received $793 million in international aid in 2013, amounting to $176 for each Palestinian. That same year, Syrians were given $106 in development assistance per capita, while eight of the remaining top ten recipients — Sudan, South Sudan, Jordan, Lebanon, Somalia, Ethiopia, Afghanistan and the Democratic Republic of Congo – received, on average, $15.30 per capita. Foreign aid amounted to about a quarter of the PA’s entire budget in 2012, Hotovely noted.
The British newspaper The Mail on Sunday reported in March that the PA was continuing to use British foreign aid money to pay terrorists’ salaries despite having promised to stop, prompting a UK government probe. Several weeks later, the watchdog group Palestinian Media Watch showed that the PA was using aid money from other countries as well. PA President Mahmoud Abbas did not deny that his government paid salaries to terrorists when pressed by on that point in May by Norwegian Foreign Minister Borge Brende.
Since the amount of money awarded to the terrorists correlates to the amount of time they’re serving in prison, “the more gruesome the terrorism, the more money will be paid,” the Post reported last October.
[Photo: Abed Rahim Khatib / Flash90 ]