Think Tank: Abbas Allocates $340 Million of 2018 PA Budget for ‘Pay-for-Slay’ Scheme

Masked militants from Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigade, a militia linked to the Fatah movement, ho
AP/Adel Hana

TEL AVIV – In its 2018 budget, the Palestinian Authority earmarked $340 million — around seven percent of its total budget — for annual payments to security prisoners, terrorist “martyrs” and their families, a new report published by a Jerusalem-based think tank found. 

The PA allocated $147 million in transfers to security prisoners, which include salaries for 10,500 current and released prisoners, and other allocations such as clothing and “canteen expenditures” for those currently in Israeli jails, the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs said.

That number has steadily risen in recent years, with the budgets for 2016 and 2017 showing $129 million and $146 million respectively.

A further $185 million was allocated in 2018 for payments to families of “martyrs” and the wounded, including monthly salaries to some 37,500 families, tuition grants, health insurance and a variety of other benefits.

“Dedicating around $340 million to arrested Palestinian terrorists and ‘martyrs,’ which forms seven percent of the overall annual budget for 2018, reflects the prominence the Palestinian Authority and its leadership give to incentivizing terror,” Brig.-Gen. (res.) Yossi Kuperwasser, who authored the report, said.

“Palestinian law considers terrorists as the ‘fighting sector of Palestinian society,'” he added.

Separately, Israeli monitoring group Palestinian Media Watch on Tuesday slammed an appeal made jointly by the United Nations and the PA for $350 million toward humanitarian initiatives in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

“Outrageously, the sum that the UN and the PA are asking the international community to donate — $350 million — is equivalent to the $355 million the PA allocated in its 2018 budget to fund its payments rewarding terror. This includes payments to terrorist prisoners, released terrorist prisoners, and to the families of the so-called “Martyrs” — i.e., terrorists killed while carrying out attacks, including suicide bombers,” PMW said.

“Instead of the UN asking donor countries to contribute $350 million to provide for Palestinian humanitarian needs, the UN should be joining the unequivocal call from many governments that the PA immediately stop squandering the $355 million dollars of its own funds on its ‘Pay for Slay’ policy that incentivizes and rewards terrorism, and instead spend that money on needy Palestinians.”

The Trump administration has cut hundreds of millions in aid to the Palestinians over its so-called “Pay for Slay” policy.

PA President Mahmoud Abbas has vowed that his government will continue to pay salaries to terrorists even if “we have only a penny left.”

“We will not accept a cut or cancellation of salaries to the families of martyrs and prisoners, as some are trying to bring about,” he said. “Even if we have only a penny left, we will give it to the martyrs, the prisoners and their families. We view the prisoners and the martyrs as planets and stars in the skies of the Palestinian struggle, and they have priority in everything.”

His remarks came in response to a Knesset bill passed in July that will allow the Israeli government to deduct the payments for terrorists’ salaries from taxes Israel collects on behalf of the Palestinians.




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