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Friday, April 26, 2013

American Tax Dollars Paying Terrorists?

At the end of March, the United States unblocked almost a half of a billion dollars of aid to the Palestinian Authority.  In early April when Secretary of State Why the Long Face John Kerry visited Ramallah, he promised there would be even more aid coming from America---for humanitarian reasons. Unfortunately some of those "humanitarian reasons" include paying money to terrorists who are in Israeli jails.

Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) reported both PA Deputy Minister of Prisoners' Affairs and the head of the Prisoners' Club have reiterated that prisoners' salaries are high priority for the PA and are treated and paid like all salaries to PA civil servants. Those reports on the PA's payment of salaries to prisoners, among them terrorists, have generated debates in both Norway and the U.K.

The PA Deputy Minister of Prisoners' Affairs Ziyad Abu Ein responded to the possibility of losing foreign aid due to PMW reports exposing these payments. He stressed that "the prisoners are our joy":
"If the assistance and the financial support to the PA are stopped, the [payment] of salaries (rawatib) and allowances (mukhassasat) to Palestinian prisoners will not be stopped, whatever the cost may be. The prisoners are our joy. We will sacrifice everything for them and continue to provide for their families."
Qadura Fares, Head of the Prisoners' Club, made a similar promise to continue salary payments. He also emphasized that the prisoners have the same status as PA civil servants:
PA TV host: "How were the prisoners' salaries and allowances affected by the economic crisis in Palestine?"

Chairman of the Prisoners' Club, Qadura Fares: "All in all, we are in the same situation as others. What is spent on the prisoners is exactly what is spent on me and you. These are salaries (rawatib). Therefore, when the salaries are paid to those working in [government] ministries and institutions, they will also be paid to the prisoners." [PA TV (Fatah), Jan. 17, 2013]

 Not that the PA has anything to worry about....On Feb. 23, 2013, when Norwegian support to the PA general budget had already become an issue in the Norwegian Parliament due to Norwegian NRK TV's report on PMW findings, Norwegian Foreign Minister Eide urged donor countries to to increase their aid to the PA, the official PA daily reported:
"[Norwegian Foreign Minister Eide] said that the current financial distress requires all parties involved to grant more funds in 2013,and called on all donors to hurry and transfer aid to the Palestinian budget as soon as possible."

[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Feb. 24, 2013]
A few days earlier, the Norwegian Foreign Minister had decided to transfer all its aid to the PA for 2013 immediately in one payment:
"Norway is disbursing the whole amount of its budget support [of 240 million kroner (approx. $41,825,760)] to Palestine for 2013 now because Palestinian public sector employees urgently need to be paid again."

[Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs' website,, Feb. 21, 2013]

Perhaps there was some sort of early payment early..get a toaster oven of something like that. In a press release following a meeting of the AHLC group of donor countries a few weeks later, Norwegian Foreign Minister Eide announced that the PA will receive more funding this year than it did last year:

"Overall budget support [to the PA] for this year will increase substantially, and it looks as if the contributions will be sufficient to cover the budget deficit of USD 1.2 billion. This is a significant improvement on 2012."

[Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs' website,, March 19, 2013]

However, the Norwegian Foreign Minister also stated that the AHLC donor group would have to reconsider its continued support if no progress is made in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict:
"Efforts to solve Palestine's acute economic problems are essential, but will only be meaningful within the framework of a negotiated two-state solution. The Ad Hoc Liaison Committee has contributed to the development of effective Palestinian institutions, but we will have to seriously consider whether we can continue our efforts if the parties fail to take steps to promote political progress towards the establishment of an independent Palestinian state."

[Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs' website,, March 19, 2013]
Norway and Britain have requested more information about the support program for prisoners, and are currently awaiting the PA's answer.

At the very least Norway and Britain are asking questions, which is much more than the U.S. is doing. US Taxpayers have given the P.A. $500 million dollars so far this year and there is a promise of more.  Shouldn't the administration first find out how much of that money is being given to terrorists in prison?

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