The Palestinian Authority spent at least NIS 502 million ($136.4 million) on pay-to-slay payments to terrorist prisoners in 2018 alone, according to a report Thursday from the Israeli Research group Palestinian Media Watch.
PMW obtained a copy of the PA's budget update and discovered that the government paid Palestinian terrorists hundreds of millions of shekels. The budget report does not indicate how the funds are allocated. However, PMW used the budget update and information from the Israeli Prison Service to find:
- At least NIS 230 million were used as salaries for terrorist prisoners
- At least NIS 176 million were used as salaries for released terrorist prisoners
- The remaining NIS 96 million was used for miscellaneous expenses and benefits for terrorists.
Those calculations only refer to PA payments to terrorist prisoners and released terrorist prisoners. They do not account for the money the PA pays to the families of dead or injured Palestinian terrorists.
Israel is working to stop the PA's "pay to slay" policies. Israel's parliament passed legislation in July 2018 to financially penalize the PA for its terror payments.
"The law that imposes monetary sanctions on the PA because of its payments to terrorists is one of the most important laws passed in Israel in recent years, because it sends a clear message to the Palestinian Authority that Israel will by no means accept its support for terrorism," PMW director Itamar Marcus told The Jerusalem Post.
The United States has also taken steps to punish the PA for pay-to-slay. US lawmakers passed the Taylor Force Act, which cuts US aid until the PA stops rewarding terrorists and their families. Australia followed suit in July.
Last year, PA President Mahmoud Abbas swore he would make paying terrorists a top priority.
"By Allah, even if we have only a penny left it will only be spent on the families of the martyrs and prisoners and only afterward will it be spent on the rest of the people," said Abbas.