Thanks to U.S. generosity, the Palestinian Authority will now have $50 million with which to ensure that terrorism against Israel continues. According to Palestinian Minister for Prisoner Affairs, Sufayan Abu Zayda, his office receives $4 million a month from the PA to support Palestinian terrorists held in Israeli prisons.
On September 3, Abu Zayda told the Palestinian newspaper Al-Hayat Al-Jadida that his office deposits salaries of $400 to $500 a month for each prisoner, in addition to a $50 monthly payment each for expenses in the prison canteen. The Palestinian Prison Affairs office also funds the prisoners’ legal expenses, medical treatment, etc.
An additional $100,000 is dedicated to tuition for every terrorist prisoner who seeks higher education--without any consideration to his organizational affiliation or crimes. The prisoners include those who murdered Israelis, suicide bomber dispatchers, and suicide bombers caught en route.
According to Abu Zayda, once released from Israeli prisons, each Palestinian terrorist continues to receive a salary for six months, after which they receive an official position with the Palestinian Authority. Those who spend more than five years in prison continue to receive the salary as long as necessary—until they get a job.
On September 7, in a follow-up interview with Al Quds, another Palestinian daily, Abu Zayda reported that a new decision was taken by the Palestinian Authority to increase the salaries of all Palestinian Security Forces. Since the Palestinian terrorists in Israeli prisons are considered part of the Security Forces, their income will also rise. According to this new decision, those who served the longest terms in Israeli prisons, i.e., those who committed the most heinous crimes, will receive the highest compensation. Thus, a prisoner who spent 25 years in Israeli prison will receive about $900 a month (4,000 Shekels). Prisoners who are residents of Jerusalem will receive an extra $50 monthly.
This news, according to reports from Gaza, was greeted by a gathering of 2,000 well-armed members of Fatah, demonstrating their support of Abu Mazen. Thus, the Palestinian President is buying support from the terrorists by paying them in hopes of deflecting the popularity of Hamas.
Generous funding of Palestinian terrorists in Israeli prisons and their unending support by the Palestinian Authority, even after they are released, sends a very clear message—it pays to fight Israel. This is particularly true, since most Palestinians live on $30 to $90 per month.
On August 24, the U.S. Consul General Jacob Willis and USAID Representative David Harden signed an agreement with PA Finance Minister Salam Fayad, granting $50 million to the PA. The grant is dedicated to housing and infrastructure projects. The U.S. prides itself on closely monitoring how the money is spent; however, money is fungible. Even if the money is spent on the designated projects, funding the Palestinian Authority at a time when it continues to pay terrorists only strengthens terrorism.
Why should U.S. taxpayers pay for Palestinian infrastructure while the PA itself spends the very same amount annually to support their terrorist infrastructure against Israel? Not only does the Palestinian Authority fund the ongoing terrorism against Israel, it also funds incitement against the U.S. and propaganda campaigns calling for attacks against American soldiers in Iraq.
“We say to the dear, heroic Iraqi nation, turn this incident [the accidental death of 1,000 Iraqis] into an opportunity for resisting the [American] occupation…,” said Yusuf Hum’a Salamah in his official Friday sermon on PA television on September 2, 2005, according to Palestinian Media Watch.
At this time—when the U.S. government is struggling against growing terrorism in Iraq—it seems counter productive to fund those who incite violence against the U.S. Moreover, these $50 million could be better spent in the U.S. to help more than 1.5 million homeless Americans in the Louisiana Delta, Mississippi and Alabama.
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 and Alyssa A. Lappen is a freelance journalist who frequently contributes to FrontPageMagazine and other online journals.
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