Report: UK money pays terrorists' salariesUK Minister of State for International Development Alan Duncan wrote a letter to MP Robert Halfon in which he rejected PMW's earlier findings that exposed the Palestinian Authority's payment of salaries to terrorists with UK money, claiming that the PA only pays "social assistance programmes to provide welfare payments" to families of prisoners. In response, Palestinian Media Watch prepared and presented in UK parliament a second report that reiterates and verifies our original findings, and rejects Duncan's categorization of the PA payments as "social assistance."
- The Palestinian Authority is currently paying salaries totaling approximately 17,500,000 shekels (£2,798,825) each month to all Palestinian terrorists in Israeli prisons, including mass murderers.
- The word used in the PA law is Ratib - salary; the law never mentions "social assistance" or "welfare."
- The amount of the salary rises based on number of years in prison, an amount related to the severity of the terror crime and not family need.
- Unmarried terrorists receive the same basic salary as those who are married and have children.
- A separate small stipend is given to married prisoners with children. The average prisoner salary is over 3,000 shekels (£480) a month and can reach as high as 12,000 (almost £2,000) a month for those in prison more than 30 years. The additional stipend for a married prisoner is 300 shekels (£48) and a mere 50 shekels (£8) per child.
- The terrorist prisoner is the only one who can appoint an "authorized agent" to handle his money when he is in prison. He is not obligated to give it to his wife, children, or parents.
- All of these points and more citations in the report refute Minister Duncan's assertion that the money is "social assistance" for families.
- As long as the UK continues funding the PA's general budget, it will be a participant in the payment of these high monthly salaries to terrorist murderers.
The fact that the PA uses its general budget to reward terrorists with high monthly salaries should be a matter of very serious concern for Britain and for all donor countries to the PA.
PMW Special Report
Palestinian Media Watch’s response to letter by
Minister of State Alan Duncan to MP Robert Halfon,
rejecting PMW’s report that exposed
Palestinian Authority’s payment of salaries to terrorists
By Itamar Marcus and
On May 20, 2011, Palestinian Media Watch published a report entitled:
“PA to pay salaries to all terrorists in Israeli prisons:
Financial aid from many donor countries
goes directly to PA budget from which salaries are paid”
The report exposed new Palestinian Authority legislation that went into effect in April 2011 retroactive to Jan 1, 2011, which raised salaries for all Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons for terror-related crimes. Recipients include all terrorists in prison, including those sentenced to dozens of life sentences for planning and directing suicide bombings. According to the clear language of the PA law, according to PA economic reports on government salaries, and according to the PA tax authorities, the monthly payments to prisoners, which range from 2,400 shekels to 12,000 shekels, are salaries no different than salaries received by civil servants. They are paid from the PA’s general budget and withholding taxes are paid as is the case with all other PA salaries. The PA’s general budget, which pays terrorists salaries, is funded by numerous donor countries, including the UK.
Shortly after the release of PMW’s report, MP Robert Halfon questioned the UK’s policy regarding funding of the PA in light of these findings. Minister of State Alan Duncan responded with a letter rejecting PMW's findings:
“I am writing to you further to your comments in the Jewish News regarding claims that British taxpayers are funding the families of Palestinian suicide bombers and prisoners in Israeli jails. If these claims were true, this would be a matter of very serious concern for me and the Department. However, I am pleased to reassure you that we have investigated the matter fully and can confirm that the allegations in Palestinian Media Watch's report are both inaccurate and misleading.”
It is not clear how the Minister’s office “investigated the matter fully,” but unfortunately, the information the minister presented in his letter is wrong. The Minister’s main argument was that the payments were not salaries to terrorists but “social assistance programmes to provide welfare payments” to the terrorists’ families. He wrote: “I hope you will also agree that dependent spouses or children should not be held responsible for the crimes of family members, or forced to live in poverty as a consequence.”
The Minister’s letter does not cite any sources to back up this information. Furthermore, those who conducted the research for the Minister did not bother to contact PMW - a serious omission, considering that it was PMW’s report that was under discussion.
This present PMW report documents that the general statements made by the Minister of State in his letter without any sources of documentation that contradict PMW’s findings, are wrong.
This report verifies PMW’s original findings:
1- The Palestinian Authority is currently paying salaries totaling approximately £2,798,825 each month to all Palestinian terrorists in Israeli prisons, including mass murderers.
2- As long as the UK continues funding the PA’s general budget, it will be a participant in the payment of the salaries of terrorist murderers.
This report quotes the relevant arguments made by Minister Duncan in his letter to MP Halfon, followed by PMW’s refutation of each point, with full quotes of the proof texts from Palestinian Authority sources. The minister’s full letter follows at the end.
Minister Duncan to MP Halfon (1):
“The PA operates two social assistance programmes to provide welfare payments to households who have lost their main breadwinner, either through imprisonment or where they have been killed or wounded as a result of the wider conflict… It is true that in some cases, payments will go to families of those who have committed the sort of crime that we utterly condemn. But I hope it is clear from the information I have set out above that the schemes are not intended in any way to reward or encourage such crimes. I hope you will also agree that dependent spouses or children should not be held responsible for the crimes of family members, or forced to live in poverty as a consequence.”
The following are the PA sources showing that what PMW documented was in fact salaries to terrorists, and not welfare payments to support women and children:
1. The payments PMW documented are defined by the Palestinian Authority in the PA law “Government resolution # 23 of 2010” as “salaries” for prisoners. Nowhere in the PA law does the word “social assistance” or “welfare payments” appear. On the other hand the word “salary” appears repeatedly:
“Government resolution # 23 of 2010 concerning the amendment on payment of a monthly salary to the prisoner: Every prisoner will be granted a monthly salary… on condition that he does not receive a salary from a [different] governmental [body]... The salary will be paid to the prisoner from the date of his arrest... The minimum salary for a prisoner…” [Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, April 15, 2011]
2. The salary payments are not related to social welfare, but are determined according to the severity of the crime as expressed by length of time in prison. The longer the time in prison, the higher the salary:
“The minimum salary for a prisoner, to be paid to him from the beginning of his detention and for up to 3 years, is 1,400 shekels. Prisoners who have been imprisoned between 3 and 5 years will receive 2,000 shekels. Those imprisoned between 5 and 10 years will receive 4,000 shekels. Those imprisoned between 10 and 15 years will receive 6,000 shekels. Those imprisoned between 15 and 20 years will receive 7,000 shekels. Those imprisoned between 20 and 25 years will receive 8,000 shekels. Those imprisoned between 25 and 30 years will receive 10,000 shekels. Those who have been imprisoned 30 years or more will receive 12,000 shekels.” [Government resolution # 23 of 2010, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, April 15, 2011]
3. The Minister’s assertion that these payments are “welfare payments to households who have lost their main breadwinner... dependent spouses or children should not be held responsible for the crimes of family members” is wrong and appears nowhere in the law. Moreover, the standard payment system cited above is not related to the family status of the terrorist prisoner. Married prisoners with children receive a separate “supplement” for their wives and children, far smaller than the salaries that reach up to 12,000 shekels a month:
“A supplement of 300 shekels will be added to the salary of every married prisoner, as well as a supplement for children up to the age of 18 in the amount of 50 shekels." [emphasis added, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, April 15, 2011]
The core salary is not related to family status.
4. Nearly two thirds of the prisoners are unmarried, have no children, and yet they still receive a full monthly salary:
“The Ministry of Prisoners’ Affairs in Ramallah said… that there are 2,805 married [prisoners], representing 37.4% percent of the total number. There are 4,695 unmarried prisoners, representing 62.6%.” [Al-Quds, Jan. 3, 2010]
Thus, nearly two thirds of the money that the British minister was informed is “welfare payment” for wives and children is actually going to thousands of single terrorists without families.
5. Another confirmation that the PA views payments to prisoners as government salaries in the full sense of the word is that the prisoners pay withholding taxes, as do all salaried workers:
Headline: “Prisoners and their families praise [PA] government decision to raise salaries, [Minister of Prisoners’ Affairs] Karake: Withholding tax applies to every citizen who receives income from the PA”
“A meeting was held between the Ministry of Prisoners’ Affairs and the Ministry of Finance… several issues on this subject [of finances] were clarified: The [withholding] tax applies to every citizen who receives income from PA coffers; it is within the framework of the Income Tax Act; and begins with salaries over 2,400 shekels per month. The beginning rate is 5% for salaries over that amount (2,400 shekels). The tax rate is graduated, reaching at most only 10% of prisoners’ salaries. The Minister of Prisoners’ Affairs said that the prisoners in the [Israeli] prisons and their families are subject to the [withholding tax] law, and [added that] the salary raise this year had been welcomed with great satisfaction among the prisoners and their families.” [Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, June 19, 2011]
Evidently, in practice, the terrorist prisoners receive salaries in the full sense of the word.
6. The following official PA economic document provides further proof that the PA pays salaries to prisoners. The document discusses in detail what portion of the PA budget went to paying salaries in May 2011:
“An official document, a copy of which reached Life and the Market (supplement to the official PA daily), reveals that the cost of salaries [in the PA budget] is much higher than people think… The sum of monthly salaries for May 2011 totaled 727,287,824 shekels (i.e., £123,393,581), paid from the treasury of the [Palestinian] National Authority… The document shows that the largest portion of the salaries’ expense - more than 40% - was paid to civil servants… As for the prisoners, they receive approximately 2.5% of the cost of salaries [for May], in the form of salaries and [additional] payments, totaling 17,678,247 shekels (i.e., £3,000,000).”
[Life and the Market, supplement to Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, June 19, 2011]
Significantly. this PA government report did not deal at all with social welfare payment. It only discussed government salaries, and it included payments to prisoners.
Minister Duncan to MP Halfon (2):
“Contrary to media reporting, the payments [to prisoners and to families of people killed] are not more generous than standard PA civil service or military salaries.”
When PMW reported that the salaries of prisoners were higher than the salaries of PA civil servants and military salaries, PMW cited an official PA document which explicitly states that:
“An official document [analyzing salaries showed]…
The average salary for a civil servant in the Palestinian Authority is 2882 shekels…
The average salary for members of the PA military personnel is 2704 shekels…
The average prisoner salary is 3129 shekels.”
[Life and the Market, supplement to Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, June 19, 2011]
Note also that Minister Duncan in his letter did not use the word “salary” to refer to prisoners’ payments, even though the PA only uses the word “salary.”
Minister Duncan to MP Halfon (3):
“In the case of Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails, they receive a minimal allowance to cover the cost of food and clothes. This scheme operates at the request of the Israeli authorities and is designed to reimburse them for the costs of providing prisoners with food and clothing. It is not in any sense a "salary' to prisoners, nor a "reward" for having committed crimes against Israel.”
Here Minister Duncan cited correct information but it is not at all related to the salaries allotted to terrorists documented by PMW. The PA gives two payments to the prisoners. First, the main payment is a salary granted to prisoners for their participation in acts of terror against Israel, as documented above. Second, the PA pays prisoners monthly canteen money, as recently explained by the Minister of Prisoners’ Affairs:
“[Minister of Prisoners’ Affairs] Karake said that the [Palestinian] government pays salaries to the prisoners in prison, in an amount averaging 17,500,000 shekels (i.e., approximately: £2,798,825) per month, as well as millions of shekels in canteen money each month, for prisoners in prison.” [Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, July 8, 2012]
The fact that the prisoners receive canteen money directly in prison is not at all related to the salary payments that the PMW documented, which is currently approximately £2,798,825 per month.
Minister Duncan to MP Halfon (4):
“It is true that in some cases, payments will go to families of those who have committed the sort of crime that we utterly condemn. But I hope it is clear from the information I have set out above that the schemes are not intended in any way to reward or encourage such crimes.”
The following PA TV interview by phone with a released prisoner, who called the TV studio to complain about the PA, is a striking indicator that the terrorists themselves understand that they are receiving a PA salary specifically because of, or as a reward for, their terror attacks. Iyad Abu Khaizaran, a member of the Islamic Jihad terror organization, was given a life sentence in 1991 for stabbing a 76-year-old Israeli man, Shlomo Yahya, to death in a suburb of Tel Aviv. He was released from prison, when Israel in 2011 agreed to release 1,027 Palestinian prisoners in exchange for Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, who had been held hostage by Hamas for more than 5 years. The released terrorist called the PA TV talk show to complain that while he and other prisoners all received full salaries in prison, since his release he had only received half a salary. The terrorist explained the reason he and other released prisoners should receive a full salary: “We killed Jews. I personally killed Jews. I killed settlers and I injured soldiers… The PA that presents itself as responsible for the nation must be faithful to everyone.” The PA’s payment of salaries is not seen by the terrorist themselves as a welfare issue at all, but as a way for the government to be “faithful” to him and his friends for their killing of Jews.
The following is the transcript:
PA TV host: “With us is Iyad Abu Khaizaran. Good evening.”
Iyad (on phone): “Hello. Since the day we were released from prison, we were given [only] half a salary... We killed Jews. I personally killed Jews. I killed settlers and I injured soldiers. My house was destroyed. I have 11 bullets in my body. I served 22 years in Israeli prisons. The PA that presents itself as responsible for the nation must be faithful to everyone.”
Host: “You, like the other [prisoners], did you receive salaries in the prisons?”
Iyad: “Yes. After about the year 2000, [the salaries] were organized.”
Host: “In other words, from 2000, I mean, all the organizations, without exception, whether it was Fatah, or Hamas, supporters of Abbas or not supporters of Abbas, they [all] received salaries or not?...”
Iyad: “Yes, yes they did.” [PA TV, March 29, 2012]
This interview is very significant. It shows not only that the letter of PA law defines the payments as salaries but that the terrorists themselves understand it as a salary. Moreover, contradicting Minister Duncan’s assertion in his letter to MP Halfon, the terrorists themselves see their salaries as a reward for their terror activities, in this case the murder of a 76 years old man.
1. The PA under PA law pays salaries to all Palestinian terrorist prisoners in Israeli prisons.
2. Prisoners’ salaries are not social welfare payments to support wives and children, but salaries granted to prisoners because they are imprisoned for activities against Israel, including terror and murder.
3. The Arabic language of the written PA law uses the word that means “salary”. Nowhere in the entire law do the words “social assistance” or “welfare” appear.
4. The monthly salary amount is based first and foremost on the number of years the terrorist has been in prison. The salary goes up based on years in prison – for single and married prisoners alike – not based on family status.
5. The salary for prisoners goes up to 12,000 shekels a month for those who have served the longest time in prison. Stipends are a mere 300 shekels a month for wives and 50 shekels per child. 62% of the terrorists in Israeli prisons are single and receive full PA salaries.
6. A prisoner serving more than 30 years receives a monthly salary of 12,000 shekels, approximately three times the average teacher’s salary, even if he has no wife and children. It is the fact that they were imprisoned for terror offenses that gives them a salary.
7. Withholding taxes are paid from the higher salaries as with all PA government salaries.
8. The average salary of prisoners is higher than the salaries for PA civil servants and military personnel.
9. The salaries of the PA terrorist in Israeli prisons are paid form the PA’s general budget.
10.The yearly UK money given to the PA general budget helps pay salaries to terrorist murderers in prison.
Minister Duncan wrote:
“I hope this information will reassure you that the Palestinian Authority is not operating any programme which financially rewards those who commit acts of terrorism and no UK aid is being used for this purpose.”
In fact, this PMW report shows the opposite: The PA spends 17 million shekels (i.e., £2,798,825) monthly in 2012 to pay salaries to terrorist prisoners of all the terror organizations. These payments are in recognition of their acts of terror. UK aid to the general budget of the PA is also being used for this purpose.
“… regarding claims that British taxpayers are funding the families of Palestinian suicide bombers and prisoners in Israeli jails. If these claims were true, this would be a matter of very serious concern for me and the Department. However, I am pleased to reassure you that we have investigated the matter fully and can confirm that the allegations in Palestinian Media Watch's report are both inaccurate and misleading.”
This report documents that PMW’s original report is both accurate and true.
The fact that the PA uses its general budget to reward terrorists with salaries should be a matter of very serious concern for all donor countries to the PA.