NIS 1.24 Billion for Pay-for-Slay Program in 2018 Palestinian Authority Budget
Written by TPS on March 28,
The 2018 Palestinian Authority budget includes more than a billion shekels, or 44 percent of the foreign aid funding the PA hopes to receive in 2018, in payments for terrorists and their families, a Jerusalem-based watchdog said Wednesday.
Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) said that 7.47 percent of the PA’s 16.559 billion shekels ($4.76 billion) operating budget is slated for the Authority’s “pay for slay” program, including NIS 550 million ($158 million) is provided to terrorists serving time in Israeli jails and NIS 687 ($197 million) for families of “martyrs.”
The publication comes on the heel of the US Congress passage of the Taylor Force Act, which cuts off nearly all US aid to the Palestinians if the PA continues to use aid money to pay terrorists and to employ policies that “encourage bloodshed and murder.”
The watchdog also said that former PA Minister of Prisoners’ Affairs Ashraf al-Ajrami confirmed the numbers to PMW legal counsel Maurice Hirsch, as well as PLO machinations to avoid implications of the Taylor Force Act. Hirsch said that al-Ajrami admitted that PA had closed the Ministry of Prisoners’ Affairs and the creation of the PLO Commission of Prisoners’ Affairs was done to deceive the international community, which did not want the PA to use their money to pay salaries to terrorists and families of “Martyrs”:
Hirsch quoted al-Ajrami as saying “Because there were complaints from bodies, in fact from funders of the Palestinian Authority who did not want their money to go to the families of prisoners and the fallen. Therefore, the [Palestinian] Authority said that we will not pay money from the government’s budget, we will pay from the PLO, and then they brought the [PA] Ministry of Prisoners’ Affairs to the Commission of Prisoners’ Affairs under the control of the PLO, and then the money moved from the Palestinian Authority to the PLO – the PLO pays, not the [Palestinian] Authority.”
Predictably, Israeli authorities were quick to blast the Authority. Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman said the findings prove that Palestinian Authority Chairman Abu Mazen supports terrorism. “The mask has come down and the gloves have come off. We will act quickly to take a decision to withhold tax monies (from the PA) against the payments that Abu Mazen hands out to terrorists and put an end to this absurd situation.”
MK Oded Forer (Yisrael Beteinu), the head of the Knesset Israel Victory Caucus (KIVC) Chair added that payments were a slap in the face to the United States and said he would with with Congressional allies to draft a coordinated response.
“This can not go unanswered and amply demonstrates the necessity of the Taylor Force Act and a similar law we will pass in the Knesset. The outrageous and shameless commitment to murder and the funding apparatus surrounding it are signs that the Palestinian Authority leadership feels immune from international reproach for its bloody policies, and this must stop immediately,” Forer said.
Forer added that he had spoken to Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado), the head of the Congressional side of the Israel Victory Caucus, and that the two legislatures would work together to put an end to terror payouts.
“The Taylor Force Act was built precisely to put an end to this policy,” said Lamborn, who was the author of the Congressional bill. “It seems like the Palestinian Authority did not receive the message we tried to send by passing this law so now we have to ensure that the U.S. will slash its funding to it. American taxpayer’s money should no longer be used to provide benefits and enticements for the murder of Israelis and others.
“We will continue to work… to ensure that this terrible policy becomes a thing of the past,” Lamborn said.