In 2017, we published a paper that revealed the fact that the Palestinian Authority is paying by law salaries to terrorists arrested in Israeli jails and to the families of deceased terrorists and injured terrorists as well. The 2018 budget that we have seen recently tells us that the Palestinian Authority keeps paying those salaries without any change, and in the budget now they give more details about the number of terrorists that are getting these salaries. For example, in the Palestinian Authority’s budget, they mention that 5,000 terrorists arrested in Israeli jails are getting salaries from the Palestinian Authority, and of course, according to this law, those who serve longer time in jail get higher salaries and the salary grows as the time you spend in jail grows as well.  On top of that, 5,500 convicted terrorists that were released from jail are also getting salaries because these salaries go on after you are released. About 1,200 arrested terrorists that are going to be released during this year are going to get a “release grant,” and the Palestinian Authority also takes care of other expenditures of the terrorists that are in jail and make sure that the families get special treatment.

On top of that, they spend a lot of money on the deceased. So altogether, the money that the Palestinian Authority spends on incentivizing terrorism adds up to NIS 1.27 billion, which equals something like $350 million in this budget of 2018. This is of course against the Oslo agreements, against any international convention on fighting terrorism, and fighting the financing of terror. This is actually soliciting terror because this money is promised to the terrorists in advance. They know they’re going to get it if they are caught and put in jail.

What we’ve seen recently is that during 2018 – by the way, to a large extent following the study we published in 2017 – both the U.S. Congress and the Israeli Knesset adopted laws that say that Israel and the United States are no longer going to be in a state of willful blindness and they are going to take action to distance themselves from this pattern of the Palestinian Authority. The American administration accepted the law that the Congress adopted, and according to this law the Palestinian Authority is not getting any more financial support from the United States. They lost something like more than $200 million. Maybe $300 million were taken away from them just because they insist on going on with this practice.

Israel has adopted a law that is called the “Stern Law,” that says that in 2019, beginning this January, it’s going to deduct from the money it transfers to the Palestinians. Based on the money Israel collects for the Palestinians from taxes and tariffs, Israel is going to deduct from this money every month, one-twelfth of this money that the Palestinians used for paying salaries to terrorists in 2018. So this number is very important because it tells us how much money the Palestinians actually spent on paying salaries to terrorists in 2018, altogether, as I said, about NIS 1.27 billion or $350 million, and if you cut it by 12, it means that the Palestinians are going to lose in 2019 something like NIS 100 million every month.

This, of course, is causing a lot of concern to the Palestinian leadership, but at the same time Abu Mazen, Mahmoud Abbas, the leader of the Palestinian Authority, chairman, is saying quite clearly that he’s going to keep on paying the salaries to terrorists come what may, and even if he has only one penny left, he is going to use it in order to pay salaries to terrorists.  The reason he says so is that for the Palestinians, this group of terrorists are considered to be heroes. According to the law that enables the payment, the terrorists are considered to be the fighting sector of the Palestinian society. So of course, they consider them eligible to get these high salaries. Abu Mazen even said that “we actually sent them, so we are committed to them. We have to pay them.”

This is, of course, a very unacceptable situation and it stands in total contradiction to the Palestinian commitments in the Oslo agreement.  I think that as time goes by and the Palestinians will understand there is a price for this policy, they will have to reconsider.  But for the time being, they are saying that they are committed to it and they are also inventing all kinds of justifications and reasons why they have to do it. For example, they say that this is some sort of welfare given to the families left without a breadwinner, and things like that. This is, of course, ridiculous because there is in the Palestinian Authority a special chapter that deals with welfare, and the funny thing is that whereas the families that need welfare get, according to the Palestinian budget, something between NIS 750-1,800, the terrorists in jail get much more than that. Those who really committed terrible acts of terror and spend a lot of time in jail get NIS 12,000 a month, and in the time they spent in jail they earn something like NIS 6 to 7 million. They become millionaires once they finish their time in jail. That’s the difference between welfare and incentivizing terror. That’s what the Palestinians are doing, and that has to stop.

Other countries, till now, have not followed the steps of the United States and Israel. They are aware of the fact that this is what’s happening. They are aware of the fact that their money is actually being used to enable the Palestinians to pay those salaries to the terrorists because money is fungible, and even if the money does not go directly of course to that purpose, eventually it enables the Palestinians to pay these salaries. Nevertheless, most of the countries with some exceptions, Netherlands and Australia that took some limited steps, most of the other countries, and definitely the Europeans, with the exception of Netherlands, keep giving the money to the Palestinians knowing that this is the way it is used. This willful blindness makes them complicit in this act of supporting terror, and that’s of course totally unacceptable.

I think more and more Europeans feel some sort of unease with the fact that they’re actually helping the Palestinians kill Jews. That’s with everything you have in the history of Europe. This is something,  of course, totally unacceptable. Nevertheless, we see that the Europeans, for the time being, refuse to open their eyes. They know what they are going to see if they open their eyes, and that’s why they prefer to keep them closed. It’s something that has to change. It has to, and I really hope that with these new details, Europe will take the necessary steps in order to convince the Palestinians to stop paying salaries to terrorists.