The very same day that an Islamic Jihad suicide bomber killed at least five Israelis and wounded more than 40 innocent people in a Netanya shopping mall, the Palestinian daily, al Hayat al Jadida (page 3), reported that Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas, signed a new law to support the families of suicide bombers.
A day earlier (Dec 4, 2005), the news was celebrated in a special gathering in Gaza, organized by Yasser Ararir, Chairman of the Gazan Association of Martyr Families, who led the public campaign for the approval of this law for over a year. He praised Abbas' decision.
Enacting a special law to financially support terrorists will ensure that this kind of activity continues. Each shahid’s family will receive a monthly stipend of at least $250. The family of a married shahid will receive an additional $50. Parents will receive an additional $25, and each additional child and/or brother or sister will get another $15.
This new budget to support the families of suicide bombers comes on the heels of the recent approval of another new law providing more than $50 million per year to support Palestinian terrorists in Israeli prisons and Palestinian terrorists wounded while attacking Israel.
According to the latest figures from the Palestinian Authority, 3,746 Palestinians were killed to date during the second Intifada (September 2000 - December 2005). Many of them were killed while engaging in terrorist attacks against Israel. The budget for this group alone is more than $11 million per year.
Add the financial support now enacted by law to the families, spouses, children and siblings and the budget will increase by at least $20 million annually. This new law is not limited only to the suicide bombers of the second Intifada, but includes all the Palestinian suicide bombers since this practice began – thereby, adding many more millions of dollars to the budget for more terrorists. For example, covering the basic monthly grant for the 1,533 Palestinian terrorists who participated in the first Intifada (1987 - 1993), will total more than $4.5 million per year.
This law provides legitimacy to the “armed struggle” and elevates terrorists to the status of “national heroes.”
According to official Palestinian sources, the PA is transferring $4 million every month to Palestinian terrorists held in Israeli prisons. In total, support for the “martyr families,” prisoners and the wounded could reach more than 10 percent ($100 million) of the PA’s national $1 billion budget.
The financial benefit for the families of the shahids, prisoners and wounded terrorists do not end with the Palestinian Authority. In addition to the PA’s handsome rewards, they also receive grants from the so-called” charitable” organizations of Hamas and Islamic Jihad, to the tune of tens of millions annually. The source of most of this money is charity trusts out of Saudi Arabia, Iran and Persian Gulf states with some donations being channeled through Islamic charities in Europe and the United States.
Israel had outlawed all charitable organizations belonging to Hamas and Islamic Jihad because they are part of the economic infrastructure that supports terrorist activities.
This new law that funds terrorism is the most egregious evidence of the Palestinians’ intentions to wage permanent war on Israel.
In what has become the staple subterfuge of PA, Abbas issued a condemnation of the latest attack in Netanya: "These operations against civilians cause the greatest damage to our commitment to the peace process, and the Palestinian National Authority will not show indulgence towards anyone who is found responsible for this operation." Yet, hours earlier, Abbas had signed into law financial incentives for future suicide bombers. It is time for the international community to stop funding the PA.
Dr. Rachel Ehrenfeld, author of Funding Evil: How Terrorism is Financed—and How to Stop It, is director of American Center for Democracy and member of the Committee on the Present Danger. Alyssa A. Lappen is a freelance journalist who frequently contributes to FrontPageMagazine and other online journals.
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