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Freed Prisoners’ ‘Dignified Life Grant’ Awaiting Abbas’ Approval

PM Hamdallah: "The PA will pay at least 4,000 shekels a month to prisoners released after serving a long prison term, and considers them to be returning soldiers."

PA Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah (R.) and PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.

PA Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah (R.) and PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.

By Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik

Recently, Palestinian Media Watch reported that the Palestinian Authority plans to give 5,000 released security prisoners who served more than 5 years in Israeli prisons a “Dignified Life Grant.” Most of these prisoners are convicted terrorists. PMW also reported that this announcement of the grant, which will cost the PA budget $15 million this year, appeared in the official PA daily on the same day that the US announced it was contributing $148 million to the PA’s budget.

Recently, PA Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah explained that these grants must be approved by PA Chairman Abbas before they can be paid:

“The Prime Minister noted that the ‘Dignified Life Grant’ for released prisoners requires a resolution issued by President Mahmoud Abbas in order to arrange its payment, as per the fifth article of the Palestinian Basic Law. He said that he has presented the subject of the grant to the President in preparation for legislation that will deal with the matter,” reported the official PA daily.

The Prime Minister also stated that “an appropriate monetary payment will be made in the coming days to cover part of the prisoners’ release grants.”

In another statement Hamdallah emphasized the PA government’s intention to raise the prisoners’ grants:

“Hamdallah stressed that the government will make every possible effort to assist the prisoners, both by enlarging the grants they receive and by means of rehabilitation programs after their release.”

Hamdallah also vowed not to abandon “the brave prisoners”:

“The government has not abandoned and will never abandon the brave prisoners who sacrificed years of their lives for the Palestinian cause and for our national goals…”

PMW has documented that the PA pays salaries to terrorists in prison.

Reporting on Israel’s release of 26 prisoners in August as part of a goodwill gesture towards the PA, the official PA daily reported that these prisoners, who “received a hero’s welcome… by senior [Palestinian] Authority officials and by their relatives” would receive grants:

“Money is not an immediate concern because the [Palestinian] Authority will pay at least 4,000 shekels a month to prisoners released after serving a long prison term, and considers them to be returning soldiers.”

While visiting a released prisoner who is receiving medical treatment in Vienna, Prime Minister Hamdallah also showed that he follows PA policy, when he libeled Israel, accusing it of intentionally harming prisoners by not giving them proper medical care:

“The Prime Minister noted that prisoner Al-Taj’s poor health stems from the policy of intentional medical neglect adopted by the occupation against our prisoners in the prisons.” (Emphasis added.)

PMW has documented that the PA is spreading the libel that Israel abuses and kills prisoners by denying them appropriate medical care.

The following are longer excerpts of the reports on the prisoners’ grants from the official PA daily:

“[PA] Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah said that an appropriate monetary payment will be made in the coming days to cover part of the prisoners’ release grants and fines (i.e., fines they have been fined by Israel), and he stressed that the prisoners’ cause, their freedom and their rights must remain on the government’s and leadership’s list of priorities. After meeting with Head of the Prisoners’ Club Qadura Fares yesterday [Sept. 5, 2013] in the Prime Minister’s Office in Ramallah to discuss many topics concerning the prisoners and the latest developments in their condition, Hamdallah said that at the next cabinet meetings the Fifth Executive Regulation, which concerns prisoners, will be discussed, in order to approve it and begin its implementation. Similarly, the Prime Minister noted that the ‘Dignified Life Grant’ for released prisoners requires a resolution issued by President Mahmoud Abbas in order to arrange its payment, as per the fifth article of the Palestinian Basic Law. He said that he has presented the subject of the grant to the President in preparation for legislation that will deal with the matter.”
[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Sept. 6, 2013]

“[PA] Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah visited released prisoner Muhammad Al-Taj, who is receiving medical care in Vienna, in order to inquire about his health… Hamdallah, who is currently traveling through Europe to raise financial support for the PA, said that the government has not abandoned and will never abandon the brave prisoners who sacrificed years of their lives for the Palestinian cause and for our national goals: Freedom and establishing an independent Palestinian State whose capital is East Jerusalem. Hamdallah stressed that the government will make every possible effort to assist the prisoners, both by enlarging the grants they receive and by means of rehabilitation programs after their release… The Prime Minister noted that prisoner Al-Taj’s poor health stems from the policy of intentional medical neglect adopted by the occupation against our prisoners in the prisons.”
[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Sept. 9, 2013]

Note:
Muhammad Al-Taj – was sentenced to 14 years in prison. He was released due to medical reasons after serving two thirds of his prison term. It has not been possible to verify the crime for which Al-Taj was imprisoned.

“When Mustafa Al-Haj (prisoner who murdered a man who was out hiking) returned to his village 24 years after he killed a settler in the rocky hills overlooking his village, he found that the historical events of an entire generation had passed him by. Al-Haj was one of 26 citizens released by the occupation’s forces in the early hours of Wednesday morning [Aug. 14, 2013] despite protests by families of Israelis killed in Palestinian attacks… The released prisoners received a hero’s welcome in the West Bank by senior [Palestinian] Authority officials and by their relatives, most of whom were not able to see the prisoners during their time in the occupation’s prison…Money is not an immediate concern because the [Palestinian] Authority will pay at least 4,000 shekels a month to prisoners released after serving a long prison term, and considers them to be returning soldiers.”

[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Aug. 16, 2013]

Reprinted from Reuters

Note: Mustafa Al-Haj murdered Frederick Rosenfeld while he was hiking near the city of Ariel in the West Bank (June 17, 1989). He was one of 26 prisoners released in August 2013 when Israel gave in to the PA’s condition that without their release they would not return to negotiations.

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One Response to “Freed Prisoners’ ‘Dignified Life Grant’ Awaiting Abbas’ Approval”

  1. Yechiel Baum says:

    Is it coming out of Abbas's pocket or yours?

Comments are closed.

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