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PA’s ‘Pay-for-Slay’ Payments to Rise by $1.3 Million Per Month

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken meets with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah in the West Bank January 31, 2023. Majdi Mohammed/Pool via REUTERS

The Palestinian Authority (PA) has announced that since Hamas launched its war on Oct. 7, an additional 3,550 terrorists have been recognized as prisoners of Israel, making a total of 8,800 prisoners.

The overwhelming majority of those included in this number have been captured during Israel’s activities against terror in the PA-controlled areas, while 661 are Hamas terrorists from Gaza:

The prisoners’ affairs institutions:

“The total number of prisoners in the occupation’s [i.e., Israel’s] prisons at the end of December 2023 reached 8,800. Of them, more than 80 female prisoners are in Damon Prison alone … The number of those [prisoners] whom the occupation classifies as ‘illegal fighters’ [i.e., Hamas terrorists from Gaza] is 661.

This means that the number of all the prisoners increased by 3,550 prisoners since Oct. 7. The number of administrative [detainees] increased by 1,971.”

[PA-funded Prisoners’ Club, Telegram channel, Jan. 3, 2024]

Before Oct. 7, the PA had been rewarding 5,250 prisoners and nearly 8,000 released terrorist prisoners with approximately $13.4 million (50 million shekels) in monthly salaries as rewards for terror.

The nearly 67% rise in the number of prisoners will initially cost the PA an additional $1,331,000 per month (4,970,000 shekels), adding $16 million to last year’s expenditure of $161 million (600,000,000 shekels) on terror salaries.

The additional $1,331,000 per month are only the initial costs. According to PA law, as Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) already exposed in 2011, each of the new terrorist prisoners will receive a starting salary of 1,400 shekels per month ($375 per month), which will rise the longer he or she is in prison, reaching a maximum of 12,000 shekels per month ($3,215 per month).

23,210 additional “Martyrs”

In addition, the official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida announced on Wednesday that there are 23,210 additional “Martyrs.”

This follows the official announcement by the PLO “Families of the Martyrs and Wounded Institution” three days ago that it recognized an additional 22,000 “Martyrs” in Gaza — which makes their families eligible to receive monthly stipends as well.

Through the PLO, the Palestinian Authority pays the families of so-called “Martyrs” — including all terrorists who were killed attacking Israelis — an immediate one-time 6,000-shekel grant and then 1,400 shekels per month for life.

After previous Israeli wars against Hamas terrorists in the Gaza Strip, it took several years for the PA to process the thousands of “Martyrs,” but eventually their families received money from the PA.

While most of the names and other information about the “Martyrs” from Gaza are certainly unknown at this stage, the PA was quick to announce that it will make sure to guarantee their families a “dignified life … [and] will continue its efforts to provide the services that it gives these families”:

Chairwoman of the [PLO] Families of the Martyrs and Wounded Institution Intisar Al-Wazir said that this year [Palestinian] Martyrs’ Day is taking place at a time when acts of genocide and massacres by the occupation’s forces against our people in the Gaza Strip are continuing … the result of which was more than 22,000 Martyrs…

She emphasized that the leadership led by [PA] President Mahmoud Abbas is committed to taking care of the families of our Martyrs and wounded and makes sure to guarantee a dignified life for them. She also emphasized that the Families of the Martyrs and Wounded Institution … will continue its efforts to provide the services that it gives these families, which have sacrificed that which is most precious to them for the homeland.”

[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Jan. 7, 2024]

The expression of guaranteeing a “dignified life” has been used by the PA before to justify the monthly payments the PA makes to terrorists and their families.

What is clear from both the new PA announcements and past policy is that the PA does not differentiate between Hamas terrorists who committed atrocities after invading Israel on Oct. 7, the Hamas terrorists killed by Israel in the ensuing war, and civilian non-combatants killed in the Gaza Strip while being used as human shields by Hamas. They are all considered “Martyrs” whose families are eligible to receive stipends of 1,400 shekels per month for life.

It should be noted that the PA and PLO institution’s figures for “Martyrs” are based on the Hamas-run Ministry of Health’s announcements, which are certainly exaggerations as can be seen in the one case where there is clear evidence.

After an Islamic Jihad rocket landed in the parking lot of a Gaza hospital killing an estimated 50 people, the PA and the Hamas Ministry of Health both announced that 500 civilians were killed inside the hospital by an Israeli bomb.

Likewise, analysis has debunked the Hamas daily announcements of numbers of “Martyrs,” showing that there are days when the PA reported more women and children as having died than the total number of dead reported for that same day. The casualty figures are clearly exaggerations intended to bring international condemnation of Israel and international pressure for a ceasefire.

In the same article announcing the new “Martyrs,” the PA daily emphasized how highly the PA values the terrorist “Martyrs”:

“Palestine’s Martyrs constitute a medal of honor for our people. They are the symbol of freedom and self-sacrifice, and they are the stars who do not disappear from our skies. They perfume our land with their deep-red and fragrant blood, and they are more honored than us all.” [emphasis added]

[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Jan. 7, 2024]

Because of its “pay-for-slay” terror rewards, the PA has lost billions of dollars in foreign funding, a billion dollars that Israel deducted from tax transfers per Israel’s deduction law [according to PA Prime Minister Muhammad Shtayyeh on Al-Araby TV, Dec. 10, 2023], and billions of dollars wasted on funding terrorists and their families.

As a result, the PA currently does not have the money to pay salaries to Palestinian civil servants, including teachers, and has been making only partial payments for over two years. Now, the international community is asking Israel to release the money it has frozen because the PA is sending it to Gaza, while complaining to Israel about the PA’s dire financial situation.

The new salaries just for the prisoners alone will cause the PA an additional budget deficit of $16 million per year. When the PA begs for international aid because of its great deficit, the donor countries should remember that when they fund the PA — either through direct aid or by paying expenses — in essence, they will be reimbursing the PA for money it spent to fund terror.

It’s time the donors conditioned their funding on the end of the PA’s “pay-for-slay” program.

The author is the founder and executive director of Palestinian Media Watch, where a version of this article first appeared.

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Washington Says It Will Not Back Expanded IDF Operations in Rafah

Displaced Palestinians, who fled their homes due to the war provoked by Hamas’s terror attacks, shelter in a tent camp, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip, December 29, 2023. Photo: REUTERS/Shadi Tabatibi

i24 NewsMedics reported that Israeli airstrikes overnight in Gaza’s Rafah claimed the lives of 17 individuals on Saturday.

The attacks come as tensions escalate, with over a million Palestinians densely packed into the border city, awaiting a potential full-scale offensive amid widespread destruction across the enclave and limited avenues of escape.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office announced plans for military action, aiming to evacuate Rafah’s population and dismantle four Hamas battalions allegedly stationed in the area.

As IDF prepares for an intense ground operation in Rafah, its efforts to create safe corridors for Palestinian civilians are made more difficult by the fighting ongoing throughout Gaza. @mcauliffe_marym joins @Nicole_Zedek with the latest updates:

— i24NEWS English (@i24NEWS_EN) February 10, 2024

Unlike previous conflicts where civilians were urged to seek refuge in southern Gaza, the current situation presents a dilemma as there are no relatively unscathed areas left, leaving residents with nowhere to flee. Aid agencies have warned of the potential for a significant loss of civilian lives should an assault on Rafah occur.

Reports from Gaza City indicate intensified fighting on Saturday, with residents reporting clashes amid the ongoing hostilities.

An Israeli official, speaking on condition of anonymity to Reuters, disclosed plans to coordinate the relocation of Rafah residents northward in anticipation of potential military action. However, Egypt has stated its refusal to permit mass displacement of Palestinians into its territory,.

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Numerous Weapons Discovered in UNRWA Premises in Gaza

View of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) building in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip. Photo: Abed Rahim Khatib / Flash90.

i24 NewsThe IDF revealed that it had discovered, in the areas of Shati and Tel al-Hawa in northern Gaza, twenty terrorist infrastructure sites including a tunnel entrance near an UNRWA school. The tunnel, an “important part of Hamas’ military intelligence services,” passed under the building which serves as the main headquarters of UNRWA in the Gaza Strip.

Large quantities of weapons were found in rooms of the building, including rifles, ammunition, grenades and explosives. Intelligence and documents discovered in the offices of UNRWA officials confirmed that these offices had also been used by Hamas terrorists, the military claims.

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Qatar Says Hamas ‘Promises’ Hostages Received Medicines, But Offers no proof

One of the digital billboards of Hamas hostages that were taken down in London. Photo: Provided

i24 NewsIn a recent development, Qatar has informed both Israel and France that Hamas has purportedly agreed to ensure that hostages receive the essential medicines delivered to them in the Gaza Strip.

Last month, Qatar facilitated the transfer of these crucial drugs to Gaza following a comprehensive list compiled with input from the hostages’ respective doctors. The medications in question are deemed “vital,” primarily aimed at addressing chronic illnesses among the hostages.

This development comes amidst ongoing efforts to address the welfare and medical needs of the hostages held in Gaza, with international stakeholders closely monitoring the situation for further updates.

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