Jerusalem, 15 March, 2023 (TPS) — A comparison of the amount of US aid provided to the Palestinian Authority with the number of people killed in Palestinian terror attacks found that American financial support “fuels terror, not peace,” an Israeli research institute found.
According to the Israel-based Palestinian Media Watch, in findings published on Monday, as US aid to Ramallah declined during the presidential administrations of Barack Obama and Donald Trump in 2011-2019, so did the number of people killed in Palestinian terror attacks.
However, “Since 2020, under the Biden administration, US aid to the Palestinians was restored and has spiked,” PMW wrote.
Under the Obama administration of 2009-2017, the US provided the Palestinians with almost $6.47 billion in aid. During that same period, 140 Israelis and foreigners were killed in Palestinian terror attacks, an average of 17.5 fatalities each year.
The Trump administration cut back on the support during its four-year term 2017-2021, sending nearly $670 million to the Palestinian Authority. During Trump’s term in office, 42 Israelis and foreigners were killed in Palestinian terror attacks, an average of 10.5 people each year.
Since the inauguration of current US President Joe Biden in 2021, the US has provided Ramallah with nearly $1.1 billion, while 46 Israelis and foreigners were killed in Palestinian terror attacks. That is an average of 23 fatalities annually. During a wave of terror attacks during which 14 Israelis were killed during the spring of 2022, the US aid continued.
Maurice Hirsch, PMW’s Director of Legal Strategies and author of the study, told the Tazpit Press Service that the Palestinians see aid as a “general reflection of political support” from Washington.
“If the Palestinians feel that the money is flowing and they have general support for their cause, including killing Jews, that bolsters terror,” Hirsch said.
He explained to TPS that terror stipends, which Israelis call “pay for slay” payments are a key part of the Palestinian Authority budget.
“Within the PAs pay for slay policy, there are two aspects. One focuses on salaries paid to prisoners and released prisoners. That’s paid via the Ministry of Prisoner Affairs. They claim that last year, they paid out just over 600 million shekels [$165.6 million] in payments to living terrorists,” Hirsch said.
“The other aspect is the Martyrs Fund. That makes payments to injured terrorists and to the families of terrorists who have been killed.”
Hirsch explained that the Palestinian Authority hasn’t published an open budget since 2018. That year, the Martyrs Fund had a budget of 687 million shekels ($189.6 million).
In retaliation, Israel deducts from monthly tax transfers to the Palestinian Authority the amount of money it estimates was disbursed to terrorists and their families.
Hirsch also dismissed Palestinian arguments that the stipends are legitimate welfare payments.
“First and foremost, the Palestinian law codifying the stipends specifically uses the word ‘salaries.’ Second, the payments are made irrespective of any needs-based criteria. If you come from a rich family, you get the same payment as if you came from a poor family,” he told TPS. “According to the Israeli Prison Service, 70 percent of the living terrorists are single and have no family to support. There’s no basis to say they are breadwinners and that their families are destitute in need of social welfare.”
He added that even for a married terrorist, the monthly payments ought to decrease as children grow up and leave their homes. Instead, said Hirsch, “The payments go up based on time spent in prison.”
In addition, Hirsch pointed out that welfare payments to the needy of Palestinian society have separate criteria in Ramallah’s budget. “The real poor are already being supported by European Union payments,” he told TPS.
“While the US support to the Palestinians, as represented inter alia by the US aid, should be, and is ostensibly, devoted to promoting peace, in practice the Palestinians see the unconditional US support as an opportunity to promote terror,” the PMW report concluded.
“While US aid to the Palestinians flows freely, Palestinian terrorists feel emboldened and murder Israelis. Only when the US demonstrates moral clarity and stops aid because the PA promotes terror, do the Palestinians understand that terror does not pay,” it said.
Hirsch noted that PMW is now examining European Union financial support for similar parallels.