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Palestinian Authority Increases Salaries to Terrorists by 13% in 2017

Despite warnings from top American and Israeli officials against rewarding terrorism, the Palestinian Authority has increased its spending on salaries to terrorists and their families in 2017, Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) revealed Wednesday.

According to the Palestinian Authority’s latest budget, payments to jailed terrorists have increased 13%, from 488 million shekels ($135 million) in 2016 to 550 million shekels ($158 million) this year. Similarly, payments to the families of “martyrs”—an honorific accorded to Palestinians killed while carrying out attacks on Israelis—have increased from 660 million shekels ($183 million) in 2016 to 687 million shekels ($197 million) in 2017, a 4% rise. In 2017, the overall budget for payments to terrorists and their families amounts to 1.237 billion shekels ($355 million).

PMW created two charts to illustrate the sums paid—including bonuses—to terrorists and their families, which increase in relation to the seriousness of the crime.

Last week, PMW reported that a Palestinian who recently attempted an attack against Israelis said that he was incentivized by the PA’s policy of financially rewarding terrorism, and that if he were ever freed, the reward promised to family would encourage him to try again.

When he met with PA President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah in May, U.S. President Donald Trump said, “Peace can never take root in an environment where violence is tolerated, funded and even rewarded.”

However, the PA has repeatedly refused to end the practice. Earlier this month, Abbas said that he would rather quit instead of stopping the payment to terrorists, “Even if I will have to leave my position, I will not compromise on the salary (rawatib) of a Martyr (Shahid) or a prisoner.”

In June, PA officials confirmed that they will continue paying salaries to terrorists and their families, contradicting an assertion by U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson that the policy had been stopped. Issa Qaraqe, head of the Palestinian Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs, characterized American and Israeli pressure to end the payments as an “aggression against the Palestinian people.”

The PA issued payments to terrorists and their families totaling more than $1 billion over a four year period, according to a recent study by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. The sum accounts for seven percent of the PA’s budget and is equivalent to 20 percent of the foreign aid the PA receives annually.

The Wall Street Journal‘s editorial board argued in November that payments to Palestinian terrorists “are an official incentive program for murder that in any other context would be recognized as state sponsorship of terror.” Meanwhile, Eli Lake wrote in Bloomberg View in July that offering salaries to Palestinians who kill Israelis “encourages” terror attacks “as a legitimate act of resistance.”

The subject of payments to terrorists came to the fore in Britain in March 2016 after The Mail on Sunday published an exposé showing that the PA paid generous salaries to a number of convicted Palestinian terrorists. That report, as well as another released by Israel Radio, was based on research done by Palestinian Media Watch, a nonprofit that has documented how the PA incentivizes terror since 2011.

report in The Telegraph showed that the PA used over $90 million in British foreign aid to pay convicted terrorists in 2013. This equaled around 16 percent of all foreign aid payments to the PA.

[Photo: StockMonkeys / Flickr ]