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Financing the Flames

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In 2017, Palestinian Authority Paid Terrorists $358 Million

January 10th 2018

Hamas protester

The Palestinian Authority spent 1.23 billion shekels ($358 million) on payments to terrorists and their families last year, the Defense Ministry said Tuesday. The figure represents 7% of the Palestinian Authority's total budget for 2017.

Get Financing the Flames and read the original Edwin Black investigation on the topic

In 2016, the Palestinian Authority spent 1.15 billion shekels ($322 million) on terrorists' stipends. The Defense Ministry released the figures as part of the government's work on the so-called "terrorist wages bill," which passed its preliminary Knesset reading in June 2017.

According to the latest figures, each terrorist serving a three- to five-year sentence in an Israeli prison receives a monthly stipend equivalent to NIS 2,000 ($580).

Terrorists serving a life sentence receive a monthly stipend amounting to NIS 10,000 ($2,900). Married terrorists receive an additional NIS 300 ($87) a month, and those who are married with children receive an additional NIS 50 ($14) per child a month. Terrorists who have Israeli citizenship receive an additional NIS 500 ($144) a month.

To compare, the average monthly salary of Palestinians in the West Bank amounts to about $580.

The legislative proposal, spearheaded by the Defense and Justice ministries, seeks to hinder the PA's terrorist stipend mechanism.

It stipulates that at the end of every year, the defense minister will present the Ministerial Committee on National Security with a report detailing the direct and indirect payments the Palestinian Authority has made to terrorists and their families. The figure will then be deducted from PA tax funds collected by Israel.

Under the 1993 Oslo Accords, a mechanism was set up by which Israel collects taxes – value added tax and customs fees – on behalf of the Palestinian Authority, to the tune of about $100 million a month, and transfers the money to the PA.

The bill defines any payment to terrorists and their families, made during the terrorists' incarceration or afterward, as terror financing.

"The Palestinian Authority pays terrorists and their families over a billion shekels a year, thus encouraging and perpetuating terrorism," Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said Monday.

"Once the payments and their amount are determined according to the severity of the crime and the sentence imposed – that is, those who murdered and are sentenced to life imprisonment receive more [money] – it constitutes financing terrorist attacks against Israeli citizens. Nothing demonstrates the Palestinian Authority's support of terrorism more. It is our duty to stop it," he said.


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