TEL AVIV – Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas confirmed this week that the Palestinian Authority is continuing its policy of paying salaries to jailed terrorists, despite having previously claimed that it had ceased to do so.
Norway’s Foreign Minister Borge Brende demanded that Abbas stop using PA funds, which include foreign donations, to provide financial aid to terrorists and their families. He said the salaries were “unacceptable and should be abolished” and added that aid from Norway was only intended to support “building and institutional development.”
Abbas did not make any effort to refute the claim, and only assured Brende that Norwegian money was not going toward remuneration for terrorists.
In 2014, Abbas declared that the PA would no longer be using funds controlled by the Prisoners’ Affairs Ministry to pay terrorists’ salaries. The Times of Israel reports that the ministry was subsequently shut down and the PA announced that all monies paid to those who commit terrorism against Israel would be distributed by the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), which does not receive international support.
However, in a special report entitled, “The PA’s Billion Dollar Fraud,” watchdog group Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) exposed that Abbas lied when he made this promise to donor countries in 2014. PMW cites various reports proving that the PA’s Finance Ministry continues to pay terrorists.
One example is the fact that the PA’s budget for the PLO was increased by NIS 481 million ($127 million) – roughly the same amount as PA funds previously earmarked for prisoners – in 2015, at the same time the PLO established its Commission of Prisoners’ Affairs.
The PA, the report concludes, continues to support terrorists financially, albeit in a circuitous way via the PLO.