TEL AVIV — The family of a Palestinian terrorist who murdered a 13-year-old Israeli teenager asleep in her bed will receive $350 a month from a Palestinian fund for “martyrs,” prompting Israel to deduct the funds from its tax transfers to the Palestinian Authority.
The new measure is intended to remove what Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu calls “an incentive for murder,” the Times of Israel reported. Set up in 1967, the budget for the martyr stipend is currently set at $170 million a year and is funded by the PA. The PA receives millions of dollars in annual aid from the West and other Arab nations.
“Terror has become a comfortable business for families,” said Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon. “This encourages violence.”
However, Palestinians say it is neither money nor anti-Israel incitement that drives people to commit acts of terror. Instead, they claim, it is the Israeli “occupation” coupled with revenge killings for Palestinians killed in the conflict.
Nasser Tarayrah, the father of Muhammad, a 17-year-old who stabbed Hallel Ariel in her sleep, is one of those who espouses this view.
“I don’t think anyone is willing to sacrifice his life for money. And for us as a family, all the money in the world won’t replace my son,” he told the Times of Israel.
Nasser, an affluent merchant, pointed out the high price his family will pay, including the government’s demolition of their two-story villa.
For some Palestinians, however, the stipend is their primary source of income. If the terrorist killed by Israel was married, the family receives an additional $100 and $50 for every child. Children of “martyrs” also receive support until 18 and, if they choose to go to university, continue receiving support until graduation.
Malehah Awwad, 56, receives about $700 a month for the loss of her two children.
Around 35,000 families of Palestinian terrorists – among them suicide bombers – receive the stipend.
Israel transfers about $125 million a month, or $1.5 billion a year, to the Palestinian Authority in tax and customs rebates, the report said.
Palestinian officials justify the fund as welfare payments aimed at providing “social protection” for the families.
“The children of the prisoners and martyrs and wounded have the right to go to schools, hospitals, and get food,” said Qadura Fares, who heads the Palestinian prisoners’ association.
Posters in Muhammad Tarayrah’s hometown praise him as a “heroic martyr.” In the wake of the stabbing attack, his mother told journalists that her son was “a hero” who made her “proud.”