3.25% of the PA’s 2020 budget paid salaries to terrorist prisoners and released prisoners.
In 2020 the PA attempted to hide its payments to terrorist prisoners by transferring over a billion shekels to the PLO, of which 512 million shekels paid the terrorists. As in past years, PMW has uncovered and is now exposing this deception.
In a year fraught with global financial instability, 6.25% of the PA’s expenditures went to the non-transparent “PLO institutions”.
In 2020, the Palestinian Authority (PA) allocated 512 million shekels ($156 million, 128 million euros), or 3.25 percent of its budget, to its “pay for slay” program, continuing to pay salaries to terrorist prisoners and released prisoner, a new report by Palestinian Media Watch (PMW), a watchdog group that documents incitement in the PA, shows.
The PA hid the salaries under the budget line of the “PLO institutions,’’the report adds.
The salaries the PA paid to terrorists in 2019 via the Ministry/Commission of Prisoners’ Affairs, were paid in 2020 through the PLO. Under the budget listing of PLO “transfer expenditures” the PA’s payments through the PLO rose more than 300% in 2020, from 161 million shekels to 673 million shekels. The additional expenditure – 512 million shekels – is the minimum amount the PA paid to the terrorist prisoners and released terrorists in 2020.
Why did the PA make this accounting change in 2020?
As a recipient of international funding, the PA must show full transparency and publicly list all its expenses, whereas the PLO is not accountable to anyone for how it spends its money. The PA wants to prevent the international community from seeing listings like the one below in its “budget performance report” of 2019, which shows 517 million shekels for salaries to terrorist prisoners listed under the “Commission of Detainees’ Affairs”.
In 2020, with the PA again paying the terrorists through the PLO rather than directly, the annual “transfer expenditure” of the “PLO institutions” rose from 161 million shekels in 2019 to almost 674 million shekels in 2020 – a rise of 300%!
Further proof that the PA payments to the PLO include payments to the terrorist prisoners is seen in the PA budget monthly reports on PLO “transfer expenditures” for 2020.
As was the case in 2019, PMW legal expert Lt. Col. (res.) Maurice Hirsch told Israel Hayom: “This year, too, Israel’s Diplomatic-Security Cabinet is procrastinating on implementing the law on terrorists’ salaries.”
Hirsch was referring to a law stating that the Israeli government is supposed to withhold from the P.A. the same amount of taxes that it collects on Ramallah’s behalf as the P.A. allocates to salaries for Palestinian terrorists and their families.
“It’s time to put an end to terrorist payments,” he said.
PMW director Itamar Marcus said, “The fact that international donors are willing to give the P.A. hundreds of millions of euros a year, while it continues to incentivize and fund murderers, is a key factor in why Palestinian terrorism continues to thrive.”
In spite of its faltering economy, exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic, P.A. leader Mahmoud Abbas has vowed to keep paying salaries to terrorists.