An article in the Independent by Mid-East correspondent Bel Trew (“Israel’s Gantz hosts Palestinian leader Abbas to discuss ‘confidence-building’ measures”, Dec. 29) included the following:
Israel…collects hundreds of millions of dollars worth in taxes on behalf of the PA – a vital source of funding – as part of the interim peace agreements signed in the 1990s. However, Israel has withheld funds over the PA’s giving of stipends to thousands of families that have had relatives killed, wounded or imprisoned in the conflict, a move which Israel says is funding terrorism.
What Trew refers to as those who have been “killed, wounded or imprisoned in the conflict” is a euphemism for what’s known as ‘Pay to Slay’ – the PA policy of paying salaries to imprisoned Palestinian terrorists – the majority of whom targeted Israeli civilians in their attacks. This includes murderers like Hamas commander Abdullah Barghouti, who built the bombs that killed 67 civilians at the Hebrew University, in cafes and on buses.
Further, by omitting the fact that terrorists themselves receive payments, and not merely their families, she parrots PLO talking points which frame the payments as akin to a ‘social welfare’ program. But, Palestinian Media Watch has documented that, according to a 2010 PA Ministry of Prisoners’ Affairs report, most of the prisoners are single and yet receive the same high basic salaries, up to 12,000 NIS a month.
In 2020 alone, the cash-strapped Palestinian Authority paid US $181 million in terrorist salaries, which reportedly accounts for approximately 3.75 percent of the PA’s annual budget.
We’ll be complaining to Indy editors over their egregious mischaracterisation of the PA’s funding for terrorism.