Yesterday, Jonathan Dahoah-Halevi, senior researcher at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, documented that the lion’s share of the $5 billion raised on Monday at Sharm el-Sheik for rebuilding Gaza will likely instead reach the coffers of Gaza terrorist groups.
Mr. Dahoah-Halevi pointed out that, as of this month, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has instructed the Palestinian ministry for prisoner affairs to transfer an additional 800 shekels, approximately $200, to the monthly allotment given to security convicts serving jail terms in Israel.
The funds will be exclusively transferred to convicts belonging to terrorist organizations which are members of the PLO, excluding Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad convicts.
Ra’ed Omar, president of the “Palestinian prisoners club,” told the Palestinian Ma’an News Agency Web site that there about 4,500 Palestinian convicts who belong to that category.
AdSys ad not found for news/world:instory –>
According to Palestinian law, every Palestinian convict, whether a Palestinian Arab, a foreign Arab or an Israeli Arab, who has been imprisoned in an Israeli jail, is entitled to financial assistance from the Palestinian Authority, on condition he or she was sentenced for activity connected to the “struggle against the Israeli occupation.”
During the entire prison stay, every convict is entitled to a salary which ranges from 1,000 shekels, or $250, a month for serving a term of one to five years, to 4,000 shekels, or $952, for serving a term of more than 25 years. Furthermore, married convicts receive an additional 3,000 shekels, or $714, a month; 50 shekels, or $11, for every child; and 300 shekels, or $71, for convicts who live in the Jerusalem area. In addition, every convict receives an allotment directly to his prison commissary account and 800 shekels, or $200, a year to buy clothes.
A bonus is given to every convict upon release.
Sums vary from $500 for a convict who spent less than a year in prison, to $10,000 for those serving terms of 25 years or more. In addition, every convict is entitled to a job in a government office after release if his term lasted more than five years. As a way of honoring the activity of released terrorists and showing appreciation, each one who served a term of five to seven years in an Israeli prison is entitled to receive a job and the rank of captain in the security forces. And if the term was more than 25 years, he is entitled to the rank of deputy minister and of brigadier general with seniority. The time he spent in jail is also counted into his pension.
According to statistics from the “Palestinian prisoners’ club,” as of March 2008, there were about 11,600 convicts in Israeli jails, some of them Israeli Arabs and Arabs from other nations who were also entitled to assistance from the Palestinian Authority.
Of those, 485 came from the Jerusalem area; 710 were serving life terms; 287 were serving sentences of more than 15 years; and 3,205 were married. A rough estimate of the monthly allotment paid by the Palestinian Authority to convicts in accordance with the prisoners’ law (without taking children into consideration) is about 13.7 million shekels a month, or more than 165 million shekels a year, about $40 million at the current exchange rate.
To that should be added the bonuses and assistance for released convicts, the families of “shaheeds” (the martyred) – along with the wounded and Palestinians whose property was damaged during the Intifada.
In that context, Mr. Dahoah-Halevi also noted that the Palestinian Authority never apologized for the terrorist attacks carried out against Israel.
In the words of Mr. Dahoah-Halevi:
“The financial aid officially given to long-standing terrorist operatives and their families serves them as a kind of social security and sends the message that their activities have received the Palestinian Authority’s stamp of approval. Not making international assistance to the Palestinian Authority conditional on its abandoning support for terrorists (and rehabilitating the refugee camps) enables the Palestinian Authority to continue disbursing huge amounts of economic resources to strengthen support for terrorism instead of developing the Palestinian economy.”
David Bedein can be reached at email@example.com