PLO official says Palestinian Authority dishing out $15 million per month in terrorism reward payments.
A senior official of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) says the Palestinian Authority paid out some 600 million shekels ($181 million) in stipends to Palestinian terrorists and their families last year under the PA’s pay-for-slay policy, Times of Israel reported Thursday.
For decades, the Palestinians have used foreign donor money, including U.S. taxpayer funds and other sources, to reward terrorists and their families. These are monthly cash payments to terrorist prisoners, released terrorist prisoners, and to the families of the so-called “martyrs” – any Palestinian killed while carrying out attacks against Israelis.
That includes payments in perpetuity to the families of suicide bombers as a reward for their “sacrifice” to the Palestinian cause.
“Because the PA hands out more money for longer sentences in Israeli prisons, those incarcerated for the most brutal terror attacks receive more funding from Ramallah,” Times of Israel noted.
“We pay around 50 million shekels ($15 million) per month in salaries,” PLO Commissioner for Prisoners’ Affairs Qadri Abu Bakr told the news site.
Over the past two years, Israel has introduced new legislation that would bring legal action against any Palestinian bank that provides payments as a reward for terrorism. Instead of stopping the practice as has been demanded by Israel and the United States, the Palestinian Authority has looked for loopholes to keep the reward payments going.
Abu Bakr said that around 7,500 released Palestinian prisoners currently receive salaries from the PLO. Another 4,500 who are still in detention also get paid.
The $181 in payouts, to which he admitted, is even higher than the $159 million calculated by the Israeli watchdog group Palestinian Media Watch, which has tracked the reward payments for terrorism and helped craft the Israeli legislation.
The Trump Administration cut off funding to the Palestinians in part over their refusal to stop the pay-for-slay payments. That decision was in line with the Taylor Force Act, passed by the Senate in 2018, which received bipartisan support and was named for 28-year-old American graduate student Taylor Force, who was stabbed to death by a Palestinian terrorist in Tel Aviv in March 2016 during a university trip to Israel.
Although Force’s murderer, Bashar Masalha, was killed by police, the Masalha family gets monthly cash payments in return for their son’s “martyrdom.” In addition to killing Force, the terrorist stabbed and wounded 11 other people, including a pregnant woman.
The Biden Administration said it wants to resume funding to the Palestinians, but that will be difficult to do while still complying with both the Taylor Force Act and the Anti-Terrorism Clarification Act (ATCA), both of which prohibit funding entities that give financial support to terrorism.