Good thing Biden’s handlers are going to start showering these good folks with American taxpayer money again, eh?
“How much did PA spend on terror salaries in 2020?,” by Maurice Hirsch, Itamar Marcus, and Nan Jacques Zilberdik, Palestinian Media Watch, February 22, 2021:
Since the beginning of 2020, the Palestinian Authority (PA) has been trying to hide the financial record of its payments to the Palestinian terrorist prisoners and released terrorists (together hereinafter “the terrorist prisoners”). In 2018 and 2019, the PA monthly budget performance reports clearly listed the transfer expenditures of the “Ministry of Prisoners’ Affairs,” which was primarily the payments to terrorist prisoners, as 502 and 517 million shekels respectively. In 2020, the budget category of the “Ministry of Prisoners’ Affairs” (later by the PA called the Commission for Detainees’ Affairs) was removed altogether. However, throughout 2020, numerous statements by PA and PLO officials confirmed that the PA continued to pay hundreds of millions of shekels a year in terror rewards. Consequently, it was clear that the PA had decided to pay terrorists in a roundabout way so that there would be no reference to the salaries at all in their budget.
Palestinian Media Watch has examined the PA’s financial reports throughout 2020 and can now report both where the payments are being hidden, and that the amount the PA spent on terrorists salaries in 2020 was no less than 512 million shekels.
The salaries the PA paid to terrorists in 2019 via the Ministry/Commission of Prisoners’ Affairs, were paid in 2020 through the PLO. Under the budget listing of PLO “transfer expenditures” the PA’s payments through the PLO rose more than 300% in 2020, from 161 million shekels to 673 million shekels. The additional expenditure – 512 million shekels – is the minimum amount the PA paid to the terrorist prisoners and released terrorists in 2020.
Why did the PA make this accounting change in 2020?
As a recipient of international funding, the PA must show full transparency and publicly list all its expenses, whereas the PLO is not accountable to anyone for how it spends its money. The PA wants to prevent the international community from seeing listings like the one below in its “budget performance report” of 2019, which shows 517 million shekels for salaries to terrorist prisoners listed under the “Commission of Detainees’ Affairs”. (Note: the 517 million shekels in the right column are the salaries to terrorists, while the 619 million shekels in the left column is the full budget of the Commission in 2019.)
This is not the first time the PA has tried to hide its expenditure on the salaries to the terrorist prisoners. In 2014, after a series of PMW events in European parliaments and meetings with members of the US Congress exposing the PA’s terror rewards resulted in threats from the donors to cut all funding to the PA, the PA stopped paying salaries to terrorists directly. It closed its Ministry of Prisoners’ Affairs and transferred the terrorist payments to a new PLO Commission of Prisoners’ Affairs. At the time, PMW’s report “The PA’s billion dollar fraud” exposed the PA’s effort to deceive the world with a cosmetic change concealing its terror payments, which brought condemnation and outrage from the donor countries.
The following chart shows the PA Ministry of Prisoners’ Affairs and the PLO’s “transfer expenditure”, i.e., its payments to terrorist prisoners, from 2014 through 2020. Whenever the PA closed the Ministry of Prisoners’ Affairs (orange columns), the PLO’s transfer expenses (blue columns) rose by the amount of the salaries to terrorists. See the blue columns in the years 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2020, which include salaries to terrorists.
In 2020, with the PA again paying the terrorists through the PLO rather than directly, the annual “transfer expenditure” of the “PLO institutions” rose from 161 million shekels in 2019 to almost 674 million shekels in 2020 – a rise of 300%!…
PMW concludes that the PA continued to pay salaries to terrorist prisoners in 2020; that the PA hid the salaries under the budget line of the “PLO institutions”; and that the total payments in 2020 to terrorist prisoners and released prisoners were at least 512 million shekels….