|Abbas demonstrating where he stands in relation to peace. The|
Rewards for Terror event is captured in a video here
- At the level of the individual recipients, we're speaking of very significant remuneration. Payments start to flow "from the moment a terrorist is sentenced" and they grow steadily. A terrorist incarcerated by the Israelis for 30 years or more gets NIS 12,000 ($3,360) per month. That's 10 times the average salary of PA employees. As incentives to do more terror go, this is powerful.
- At the level of Palestinian Arab society, these are large numbers, amounting to 7% of the PA’s annual budget (currently about US $4 billion).
- More than 20 percent of the foreign financial aid received annually by the PA from donor governments - mainly in Europe and the United States - "is now dedicated to the salaries of imprisoned terrorists as well as to the salaries of prisoners who are released from prison."
- It's often argued for the Palestinian Arab side that this all amounts to a kind of social welfare scheme - something any government is called upon to do to protect the interests of its weak and dis-empowered. But Kuperwasser points out that the Palestinian Arabs’ own budgetary documents contradict the argument, making plain that the payments in question are salaries. They are explicitly not regarded by granter or recipient as welfare payments. It's a point of honour for them.
- Six years ago, in an earlier post of ours [see "20-May-11: Rewarding the Palestinian Arab terrorists: is this being done in your name?"], we wrote about this, and noted that
"There is a powerful symbolism at work here. The PA is chronically short of funds, and is perpetually requesting handouts. Yet it has sufficient disposable cash to make the decision this week to channel funds to the terrorists sitting in Israeli prisons. Evidently Mahmoud Abbas and his cohorts have a sound understanding of the message they want to convey to their people, and how best to deliver it."
- Kuperwasser reminds us that it's not just about payments. He writes: "When terrorists are released, they get a grant and are promised a job at the Palestinian Authority. They also receive a military rank that’s determined according to the number of years they’ve served in jail."
- The payments continue after Palestinian Arab terrorists are released from prison. They also continue, as a sort of pension, to the families of terrorists who paid the ultimate price in their “struggle against Zionism.”
- None of this is off-the-books or under-the-table. Kuperwasser writes: "The PA’s official support of terror is a deliberate and official act of state: It occurs on the basis of PA laws that have been passed since 2004, and provide legal grounds for payments to incarcerated terrorists and the families of Terrorist killed carrying out terror attacks against Israel. These are explicit PA laws, which mandate payments to prisoners of war, or as they call them “al-asra”; a normal prisoner is “sijir” in Arabic.“Prisoners of war and released prisoners of war,” says the second clause of the law,“are an inseparable part from the fighting sector of Palestinian society.” On that basis, the PA has determined that Palestinian terrorists are entitled to “heroic treatment and recognition.”
- It's not only monthly payments and special jobs. Kuperwasser says that a lump sum is paid to the terrorists at the end of their prison terms, "dependent upon the time for which they sat in prison".
- Kuperwasser calls the Rewards for Terror "an open scandal" that contravenes the Oslo Accords, and international law.
- And to be clear, Israel is part of the scandal, reasoning along with the other donor countries that ceasing these payments would inevitably lead to the collapse of the PA and fear of even greater security chaos ahead.
- He argues now that "Israel and the international community must condition any further financial assistance to the PA on the immediate cessation of this terror payments policy, whether by government decree or by legislation... There has been some discussion in Israel about passing legislation to cut tax rebates back to the Palestinian Authority if this Palestinian policy continues. In the U.S. the Taylor Force Act is currently being considered by Congress. But no laws have been changed to date."