Palestinian Authority rushes to change financial reports to hide pay-for-slay from donor countries.
The Palestinian Authority rushed to hide financial data after an Israeli watchdog group reported the Palestinians had forgotten to erase a budget line showing payments to convicted Palestinian terrorists – a slip-up that could cause donor countries to cut their funding, a senior PMW official said.
Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) published a report last month showing how the Palestinian monthly budget reports carried what appeared to be an intentional mis-translation from Arabic to English to try and hide the Palestinian pay-for-slay program.
PMW showed how the Arabic language version of the financial reports published by the PA Ministry of Finance include a budget line for the “Commission of Prisoners and Released Prisoners,” but in English that translation was missing and only the text “Retirees Pension Allowances” appeared.
For readers of the English version of the accounting report it gave the impression that the PA is not paying terrorists, because the “prisoners” budget is a whopping 908 million shekels ($267 million).
For decades the Palestinian Authority has paid regular monthly stipends to convicted terrorists and their families, especially those involved in the murder of Israeli civilians. That policy was challenged by the United States when it passed the Taylor Force act, bipartisan legislation that cut American aid to the Palestinians so long as they continue to pay reward money to terrorists.
The American law was named for Taylor Force, an American graduate student and veteran who was murdered by a Palestinian in 2016 during a trip to Israel. The bill aimed to prevent American tax money from being used by the Palestinians to pay the monthly stipend it gives to the family of Force’s killer.
Now PMW reported that after their report revealed the translation slip-up Palestinian rushed to edit the Arabic versions to cover up that they are still paying salaries to terrorists.
“The revised Arabic language reports now reflect the English version of the reports,” said Maurice Hirsch, Director of Legal Strategies at PMW.
“Since PMW’s report obviously embarrassed the PA and could bring censure of the European donor countries who have demanded full financial transparency, the PA has retroactively altered all the reports in which the distortions appeared,” Hirsch said.
Hirsch published screenshots of the altered documents showing that they had all been edited on August 30, and all had removed any reference to the Commission of Prisoners and Released Prisoners.
“All the incriminating files with the PA monthly financial reports for February, March, April, May and June 2020 were all altered on August 30, just days after the publication of PMW’s report,” Hirsch said.
In order to keep the hundreds of millions of dollars flowing from donor countries, primarily in Europe, the PA “would rather the donor countries not see that they are continuing to spend hundreds of millions of shekels each month to reward terrorists,” he said.