United States Taxes Fund Arab Terrorism
Summary ... The Palestinian Authority has supported terrorists for many years, using the funds given to the organization from the United States, the PA's largest single country donor. Despite investigations by the US Congress, the money keeps pouring in to pay the terrorists of the PA, many whom Israel released under pressure from the United States.
The Palestinian Authority [PA] pays high salaries and good benefits to convicted terrorists in Israeli prisons. The more horrific the crime and the more Israelis or Americans murdered, the higher the salary and the better the benefits.
But where does the cash-strapped PA get the money for terrorists?
Much of it comes from your [US] tax dollars. The PA budget is heavily dependent on foreign aid—and the U.S. is the PA's largest single country donor.
Facts About the Palestinian Terrorism Industry
Palestinian [sic] terrorists killed or wounded thousands of Israeli and American civilians between 1993 and 2014.
- 286 Israeli civilians murdered between 1993 and 2000; 1,227 Israeli civilians murdered and 8,549 wounded or maimed between 2000 and 2014.
- 58 Americans murdered and 75 to 102 wounded between 1993 and 2010.
Number of convicted Palestinian terrorists — "security prisoners" — in Israeli prisons: 4,000-5,500
- 1,000 have been convicted of murdering Israelis and have "blood on their hands."
- 3,000 to 4,000 were caught in dragnets or were complicit in terrorism.
- 792 prisoners were serving life sentences in 2011 for murdering Israelis or Palestinian "collaborators."
- The PA also pays Arab citizens of Israel who commit terrorist acts.
- The PA does not discriminate: terrorists from every group—Hamas, Fatah, Islamic Jihad—get funding.
From the time it was established in 1994, the PA set up the infrastructure to support terrorists: the quasi-official Prisoners Club (1994) and the Palestinian Ministry of Prisoners (1998), and adopted the Law of the Prisoners (2004).
- These two institutions funnel the salaries and benefits, provide legal aid, and make demands on behalf of the prisoners.
- Then PA Finance Minister Mahmoud Abbas announced in 2004 that only prisoners who "resist the occupation" qualify for benefits. Other criminals—convicted of lighter crimes like theft, burglary or others—do not.
The PA commits 5% to 6% of its total budget to payments for prisoners and their families and for suicide bombers' families.
- In 2011, the PA spent an estimated 6% of its budget on payments to prisoners and their families: 18 million shekels ($4.5 million) per month on prisoners and 26 million shekels ($6.5 million) per month on payments to families of suicide bombers—$132 million/year.
- In 2013, the PA spent an estimated 5% of its budget on payments to terrorists, and spent approximately $100 million for prisoners' salaries.
- In 2014, the PA announced that it was budgeting an additional 160 million shekels ($46 million) to give to released prisoners.
The Ministry of Prisoners Affairs and the Prisoners Club are given top priority in the PA budget.
- Then PA Finance Minister Mahmoud Abbas assured Palestinians in 2004 that these two institutions would always have top budgetary priority. In 2004, even when funding for other services had to be slashed by 66 percent, the prisoners' salaries were paid in full, and the budget for the Prisoners' Club was cut by only 50 percent.
- In 2012, funding for the Ministry of Prisoners was ten times greater than that for the Ministry of Labor, and half that of the Ministry of Social Affairs.
Terrorist salaries are on a sliding scale: the more horrific the crime, the higher the wages. The salaries are usually far higher than the West Bank average wage of $533/month and sometimes higher than those of any other civil servants. The average monthly salary paid to terrorists was 3,129 shekels ($850) in 2012 while the average salary for civil servants was 2,882 shekels, ($783), and for Palestinian military personnel it was 2,704 shekels ( $734).
In 2011, The PA announced the following wages and stipulated that they would be linked to the cost of living index.
- All security prisoners get a base salary of 1,400 shekels ($400) per month.
- Terrorists sentenced to 3-5 years get 2,000 shekels ($560) per month.
- Terrorists sentenced to 5-10 years get 4,000 shekels ($1,100) per month.
- Terrorists sentenced to 10-15 years get 6,000 shekels ($1,690) per month.
- Terrorists sentenced to 15-20 years get 7,000 shekels ($2,000) per month.
- Terrorists sentenced to 20-25 years get 8,000 shekels ($2,250) per month.
- Terrorists sentenced to 25-30 years get 10,000 shekels ($2,800) per month.
- The worst offenders, those who commit mass murder, get the top wage of 12,000 shekels ($3,400) per month—up to 10 times more than the average pay.
The PA incentivizes Arab citizens of Israel to commit terrorist acts by giving them an added supplement of 500 shekels ($142) per month.
The PA also provides money to families of terrorists.
- Wives get 300 shekels ($85) monthly.
- Fifty shekels ($14.46) are given monthly to each child of the terrorist.
- There are between $4 million and $5.6 million in a PA university scholarship fund for relatives of terrorists.
The PA also pays terrorists monthly salaries after they are released from prison.
- Released prisoners receive the status of a deputy minister or the rank of major-general in the PA security forces — both worth a monthly stipend of NIS 14,000 ($4,000).
- In 2013, four thousand released Palestinian prisoners received monthly salaries although many of them were able-bodied men who could work.
The most horrific mass murderers receive the highest salaries.
- Abdallah Barghouti: 67 life sentences for involvement in terrorism that together involved the slaughter of 66 Israeli men, women, and children. The Sbarro Pizza Restauarant (Aug. 9, 2001); Moment Café (March 9, 2002); the triple attack at the Ben Yehuda pedestrian mall (Dec. 1, 2001). His victims included two Americans killed and nine wounded, including two-year-old Sara Nachenberg.
- Hassan Salameh: 38 life sentences. Head of the terror infrastructure responsible for two attacks on the No. 18 buses in Jerusalem (Feb. 5 and March 3 1996) and at the Ashkelon Junction hitchhike point (Feb. 25, 1996). 20 Israelis were killed in the attacks.
- Hakim Awad: 5 life sentences. He and a fellow terrorist murdered five members of the Fogel family while they slept, including their 11-year-old and 4-year-old sons, and their two-month-old infant daughter.
This money is not for prisoner needs: the Israeli Prison system provides for all prisoner needs, spending 23,598 shekels ($5,900) per year per security prisoner.
- In Israeli prisons, prisoners enjoy family visits, education, television, newspapers and radio and receive top quality dental and medical care. They can take high school matriculation exams, study at the open university, and graduate with accredited college degrees.
- Each cell has its own shower, bathroom, kitchenette and a TV that receives 12 channels, including Israeli channels and several Arabic-language channels, among them Palestinian TV. Prisoners also have access to the prison library and when necessary, to treatment in Israeli hospitals. They are regularly visited by the International Red Cross.
The PA incentivizes terrorists with the prisoner salaries.
- In 2013, Palestinian Husni Najjar was arrested for planning terrorist attacks. He admitted that he was incentivized by the financial reward, saying that his previous stint in prison had not lasted long enough to give him a high salary. With a second prison sentence, he would get 135,000 shekels, "enough to pay my debts."
The PA incentivizes terrorists by glorifying them and their actions.
- Prisoners Day is an important annual national holiday.
- Town squares, sports teams, schools, and camps are named after notorious terrorists.
- Prisoners are viewed as national heroes. * Muqdad Salah murdered a 72-year-old Holocaust survivor in 1993. Released in 2013, he was welcomed by "a cacophonous crowd;" had saved $100,000 from his prisoners' salary, and the PA gave him an additional $50,000 when he was released. * "These [prisoners] are heroes, fedayyeen (self-sacrificing fighters), and fighters who fought so that we could live in dignity..." PA Minister of Prisoners' Affairs Issa Karake (2013)
The PA Funds the Terrorism Industry With Donor Dollars
The PA budget is heavily dependent on donor dollars.
- In 2003, 58% of the PA budget came from donors; in 2004 and 2005, 53% came from donors; in 2013, foreign donations were expected to cover 40% of its budget—$1.4 billion.
- In 2012, a Palestinian economist reported that "the West Bank economy is almost entirely upheld by international aid; in 2011, donors promised the PA $1 billion in support." 
The U.S. and the EU are the major donors to the PA and help fund the PA budget.
- Donors gave roughly $30 billion in international aid to the PA between 1993 and 2012; $7 billion came from the U.S. alone and $7 billion came from the EU; $10 billion came from individual European countries, Japan, Australia, and Canada.
- The U.S. allotted $170 million and the EU allotted $421 million to directly fund the PA budget in 2013.
Foreign donations are used to pay PA salaries.
- A PA official reported that 85% of foreign donations were used for PA salaries in 2013, which likely includes prisoner salaries.
Even if donor money is not directly used for the prisoners, the donations free other PA money for that purpose.
- "The United States gave $440 million in fiscal year 2013 to the Palestinian Authority. We all know that money is fungible. The more money we give to help them with these 'job programs,' the more money the Palestinian Authority has to pay terrorists." Rep. Ted Poe (R-Texas), Chair of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation and Trade.
The U.S. Congress has demanded more oversight so American taxpayer money will not fund terrorism, but no major changes have been made. The Prisoners Club, the Ministry of Prisoners, and payments to prisoners are not mentioned in U.S. Government oversight reports.
- The three U.S. priorities for aid to Palestinians include "preventing terrorism from Hamas and other militant organizations," according to the Congressional Research Service in 2013.
- Since 2001, appropriations acts have required that steps be taken to "ensure that U.S. resources, including its aid to the West Bank and Gaza, do not support terrorist activities," but in 2009, the Government Accountability Office [GAO] reported that while measures to prevent inadvertent payments to terrorists had been strengthened, weaknesses remained.
- In 2014, Congress held hearings on donor money funding Palestinian prisoners convicted of terrorism. "U.S. taxpayer money should not be paying and rewarding Palestinian terrorists who are doing harm and killing Israelis and Americans," declared Rep. Ted Poe (R-Texas), Chair of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation and Trade.
Footnotes1. "Fatalities in Palestinian Terror Attacks (1967-2005)," Jewish Virtual Library; a recent lawsuit identified 102 American injured, Charlie Savage, "Terror Suit Against Jordanian Bank Tests U.S. Diplomacy and Secrecy Laws," The New York Times, April 1, 2014 [return]
2. Israeli Security Agency, "2013 Annual Summary" [return]
3. "Terrorism: American Victims of Terrorist Attacks: 1970-2012," Jewish Virtual Library [return]
4. Edwin Black, Financing the Flames, Dialog Press, 2013, p.188; Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik, "PA to Pay Salaries to All Terrorists in Israeli Prisons," Palestinian Media Watch, May 20, 2011 [return]
5. "Israel issues 700 life sentences against Palestinians in 13 years," Middle East Monitor, Sept. 30, 2013; for example the crimes committed by recently released prisoners, "Background to the Scheduled Prisoner Release You Won't Find at the BBC," BBC Watch, Dec. 29, 2013 [return]
6. Edwin Black, "How British and American Aid Subsidises Palestinian Terrorism," The Guardian, Nov. 11, 2013 [return]
7. Salam Fayyad, "A Settlement for the Prisoners," Jerusalem Times, July 22, 2004 [return]
8. Ilan Ben Zion, "PA spends 6% of its budget paying Palestinians in Israeli jails, families of suicide bombers," Times of Israel, Sept. 3, 2012 [return]
9. Ibid. [return]
10. Gideon Ben-Zvi, "Report: Palestinian Authority Paid Out $100 Million to Convicted Terrorists in 2013," Algemeiner, Feb. 15, 2014 [return]
11. Sharona Schwartz, "Congress Trying to Prevent U.S. Tax Money from Funding Palestinian Terrorist Salaries," The Blaze, March 6, 2014 [return]
12. Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik, "PA allocates $46 million more for terrorists in 2014," Palestinian Media Watch, Feb. 12, 2014 [return]
13. Salam Fayyad, "A Settlement for the Prisoners," Jerusalem Times, July 22, 2004 [return]
14. Edwin Black, "Direct Taxpayer Support for Terrorism," Financing the Flames, 2013 [return]
15. The Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) reported the average daily wage in the West Bank in 2012 was $24.60. PCBS, "Average Net Daily Wage of Palestinians Working in the PT" 2012 [return]
16. Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik, "PMW report presented to members of Congress on US funding of Palestinian terrorists," Palestinian Media Watch, July 26, 2011 [return]
17. Maya Shwayder, "Salaries For Suicide Bombers: Western States Unwittingly Fund Terrorist Activities In Palestine, Says Report," International Business Times, Feb. 14, 2013 [return]
18. Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik, "PA to pay salaries to all terrorists in Israeli prisons," Palestinian Media Watch, May 20, 2011 [return]
19. Maya Shwayder, International Business Times [return]
20. Palestinian Authority TV, "Relatives of terrorists receive university scholarships," Dec. 25, 2013 [return]
21. Lahav Harkov and Khaled Abu Toameh, "Senior Likudniks react angrily to PA payouts to freed terrorists," Jerusalem Post, Nov. 18, 2013 [return]
22. Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik, "Is the PA lying to European governments in order to receive European funding?" Palestinian Media Watch, Feb. 14, 2013 [return]
23. Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik, Palestinian Media Watch, May 20, 2011; Edwin Black, Financing the Flames, 2013, pp. 189-190 [return]
24. "Terrorism: American Victims of Terrorist Attacks: 1970-2012," Jewish Virtual Library [return]
25. Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik, Palestinian Media Watch, May 20, 2011; Edwin Black, Financing the Flames, 2013, pp. 189-190 [return]
26. Ministry of Foreign Affairs, "Suicide and Other Bombing Attacks in Israel Since the Declaration of Principles (Sept 1993)" [return]
27. Ahyia Raved, "Fogel Family Murderer Gets Five Life Sentences," YNet News, Sept. 13, 2011; Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik, Palestinian Media Watch, Feb. 14, 2013 [return]
28. Israel State Budget, 2013-2014, Attachments [Hebrew] [return]
29. Barak Ravid, "Israel to strip Hamas prisoners' rights as pressure over Shalit," Haaretz, March 29, 2009; Anat Berko, "Israeli Prisons, Hothouses for Breeding Palestinian Terrorists," Investigative Project on Terrorism, Aug. 2, 2013 [return]
30. Linda Gradstein, "What's daily life like for Palestinians in Israeli prisons?," Jewish Telegraph Agency, Dec. 18, 2011 [return]
31. Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdek, "Terrorist planned attack in order to be imprisoned and receive PA salary," Palestinian Media Watch, Feb. 16, 2014 [return]
32. "Governor of Ramallah gives speech honoring terrorists' families," Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Jan. 16, 2014; "Glorifying Terrorists and Terror," Palestinian Media Watch [return]
33. Jodi Rudoren, "Remaking a Life, After Years in an Israeli Prison," The New York Times, March 29, 2014 [return]
34. Palestinian Authority TV, "PA Minister Defends PA Giving Money to Terrorists, They Are 'Heroes,'" Nov. 4, 2013 [return]
35. Miftah, "Fact Sheet: The Palestinian Authority's Sources of Funding," Miftah, Feb. 2006 [return]
36. Omar Shaban, "Palestinian Authority's 2013 Budget Passed Despite Political Rift," Al-Monitor, April 8, 2013 [return]
37. Jillian Kestler-D'Amours, "Bubble in aid-dependent West Bank bound to burst, say economists," Electronic Intifada, Aug. 12, 2006 [return]
38. StandWithUs, "Foreign Aid to the Palestinians Data," Nov. 12, 2012 [return]
39. Omar Shaban, "Palestinian Authority's 2013 Budget Passed Despite Political Rift," Al-Monitor, April 8, 2013 [return]
40. "Fatah Official: 85% of Donor Money Goes Toward PA Salaries," Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Dec. 25, 2013 [return]
41. Sharona Schwartz, The Blaze, March 6, 2014 [return]
42. Jim Zanotti, "U.S. Foreign Aid to the Palestinians," Congressional Research Service, Sept. 30, 2013 [return]
43. GAO, "Recent Improvements Made, but USAID Should Do More to Help Ensure Aid Is Not Provided for Terrorist Activities in West Bank and Gaza," GAO 06-1026-R, Sept. 29, 2006 [return]
44. GAO, "Report to Congressional Committees: Measures to Prevent Inadvertent Payments to Terrorists under Palestinian Aid Programs Have Been Strengthened, but Some Weaknesses Remain," May, 2009 [return]
45. Sharona Schwartz, The Blaze [return]
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