Palestinian Authority Spent $78 Million of Annual Budget on Families of Suicide Bombers
The Palestinian Authority (PA) paid $132 million annually to Palestinian inmates in Israeli prisons ($54 million) and families of suicide bombers ($78 million) from 2003 to 2011, according to financial documents uncovered and released by Israel’s Channel 2 news.
The Palestinian Authority budget data, signed by PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, shows that as of May 2011 the PA spent nearly $4.5 million per month on compensating Palestinian inmates in Israeli prisons and $6.5 million on monthly payments to families of suicide bombers.
From 2003 to 2011, Palestinian law mandated the payment of a monthly salary of $250 to security detainees sentenced to up to five years in prison, and higher payments for longer sentences. An inmate serving 30 years or more is paid around $3,000 per month. An amendment to the law in Jan. 2011 increased these salaries by up to 300%, according to the Times of Israel.
Arsen Ostrovsky, a fellow at the American Center for Democracy, wrote in a statement, “In the last five years, the U.S. government has poured at least $4 billion in aid to the Palestinians, with very little to show in return – except more terror and corruption… Time has now long come to ask whether the United States should continue funding at all.”
Qadura Fares, head of the Palestinian Prisoners Society, told Israeli newspaper Haaretz that the stipends “go solely to the prisoners’ families, not the prisoners themselves. Every country in the world offers assistance to prisoners’ families so they don’t go hungry, and the PA is no different.”
Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip are “the largest per capita recipients of international development assistance in the world,” according to the US Congressional Research Service and the US Institute of Peace. Annual US bilateral assistance to the Palestinian Authority has averaged nearly $600 million since 2008. The Palestinian Authority accumulated a deficit of more than $500 million in 2011, according to a statement by Fayyad in the New York Times, and is currently $175 million behind on electricity payments in the West Bank. Israel is the largest cumulative recipient of US foreign assistance since World War II, and is expected to receive $3.1 billion in fiscal year 2013.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton stated that funding to the Palestinian Authority provides “critical support to the Palestinian people and those leaders seeking to combat extremism within their society and build a more stable future.”
Former opposition leader of the Israeli Knesset Tzipi Livni commented that the “solution [to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict] depends on the ability of the leaders to cope with extremists and terrorism…”
Khaled Abu Aker, “Palestinians Unable to Pay Full Salaries of Employees,” nytimes.com, July 3, 2011
Ilan Ben Zion, “Israel Threatens to Leave Palestinians in the Dark Over Unpaid Power Bills,” timesofisrael.com, Sep. 3, 2012
Ilan Ben Zion, “PA Spends 6% of Its Budget Paying Palestinians in Israeli Jails, Families of Suicide Bombers,” timesofisrael.com, Sep. 3, 2012
Avi Issacharoff, “Despite Fiscal Crisis, PA Increases Stipends to Palestinian Prisoners,” haaretz.com, Sep. 4, 2012
Morton A. Klein, “Two Weeks in Abbas’ PA: More Jew-Killers Honored, Jews Again Labelled ‘Enemies of Allah,'” Zionist Organization of America website, July 25, 2012
Scott Lasensky, “Dollars and Diplomacy: Foreign Aid and the Palestinian Question,” US Institute of Peace website, Aug. 2006
Seth Mandel, “Palestinian Stimulus: Terrorists Get a Raise,” commentarymagazine.com, Sep. 4, 2012
Arnold Roth, “Where’s the Shame? US Tax Dollars Funding Palestinian Fiscal Incompetence and Terror,” jewishpress.com, Sep. 4, 2012
Jim Zanotti, “US Foreign Aid to the Palestinians,” Congressional Research Service website, June 15, 2012