by Maurice Hirsch, Adv.
The UK Government has decided to grant 20 million pounds to the Palestinian Authority’s general budget. According to PA sources, a large part of the grant “will be allocated for the education [sector].” [WAFA, official PA news agency, Nov. 25, 2017]
When deciding to contribute to the PA general budget, the UK Government presumably took into account the fact, as Palestinian Media Watch has shown, that the PA uses no less than 7% of its general budget for both paying salaries to terrorists and their families and for the glorification of terrorists in general.
The Palestinian Authority terrorists who receive salaries from the PA include the members of UK-proscribed terrorist organizations and murderers of UK citizens. For example, to date, Mousab Abu Shkhidem, Nidal Shehadeh, Is’haq Arafe, and Hussein Kawasmeh, the murderers of Mary Jane Gardner, a UK tourist murdered in a terrorist attack in Jerusalem on March 23, 2011 have each received over 33,000 pounds sterling from the PA, for carrying out the attack and being sent to prison.
Jamil Tamimi, the murderer of Hannah Bladon, a UK student murdered in Jerusalem on April 14, 2017 has received over 2,500 pounds sterling from the PA, for carrying out the attack and being sent to prison. Kifah Ghneimat and Iyad Fataftah – who on Dec. 18, 2010 near Beit Shemesh attacked and seriously injured UK citizen Kay Wilson and murdered US citizen Kristine Luken – have each received over 41,000 pounds sterling for carrying out the attack and being sent to prison.
A number of Palestinian terrorists have cited the payment of salaries by the PA as the motive for committing terrorist attacks. The salaries have also been used to fund terrorist attacks.
While the international community has demanded that the PA stop paying salaries to terrorists, PA officials have rejected any change of this policy.
PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas even went as far as to say that “Even if I have to leave my position, I will not compromise on the salary of a martyr or a prisoner.” [Official Fatah Facebook page, July 2, 2017]
In addition to the payment of the salaries to terrorists, the PA also constantly glorifies terrorists.
While the glorification is widespread and encompasses almost every aspect of Palestinian Authority daily life, two manifestations of this policy are particularly important to note.
As PMW has documented, the PA uses its school system for glorifying terrorists. Thirty-one PA schools are named after terrorists and “martyrs,” including terrorists responsible for the death of dozens of Israelis, 41 school names glorify martyrdom, while three additional schools are named after Nazi collaborators.
The glorification of terrorists in PA football is also widespread. As documented in PMW’s complaint to FIFA submitted in March 2017, the Palestinian Football Association and its president, Jibril Rajoub, use and abuse football to support and glorify terrorism; incite hatred and violence, and promote racism.
Since fund raising for acts of terrorism is outlawed by the UK Terrorism Act 2000, and the incitement and glorification of terrorists is outlawed by the UK Terrorism Act 2006, it is unclear why the UK Government continues to fund the PA general budget, knowing that these funds go for these outlawed purposes.
The contribution to the PA general budget also appears to contradict the 2016 UK Government statement according to which aid to the PA will “focus solely on vital health and education services, in order to meet the immediate needs of the Palestinian people and maximise value for money. Funding will only go towards the salaries of health and education public servants on a vetted list.”
Ironically, PA Minister of Education Sabri Saidam, who, according to the report in WAFA, spoke to British Minister of State for International Development and Minister of State for the Middle East at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office Alistair Burt about the UK’s funding to the PA, has previously called to prosecute the UK Government for celebrating the Balfour Declaration. Saidam posted the following post on his Facebook page:
“The government of Britain’s insistence on insulting the Palestinian people by welcoming the ruler of Tel Aviv (i.e., Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in an official visit on Feb. 6, 2017), and inviting him to a celebration that it intends to hold for the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Promise (i.e., Declaration), constitutes a deepening of its historical injustice towards the Palestinian people and the ongoing Nakbas (i.e., “catastrophes,” Palestinian term for the establishment of the State of Israel and what has happened since its establishment) that were caused to it due to [Britain], as well as cooperation with the executioner at the expense of the victim. Therefore, there is no point in demanding that Britain apologize, but rather we must put its government on trial in the world courts.”
[Facebook page of PA Minister of Education Sabri Saidam, Feb. 7, 2017]
The following is the full text of the article published in WAFA, the official PA news agency:
Saidam: Britain has decided to pay its annual contribution of 20 million pounds to support the [PA] general budget
“[PA] Minister of Education and Higher Education, [Fatah Central Committee Deputy Secretary, and Fatah Revolutionary Council Deputy Secretary] Sabri Saidam announced today (Saturday) [Nov. 25, 2017] that Britain has agreed to pay its annual contribution of 20 million pounds, which is allocated to support the [PA] general budget of Palestine. Part of it will be allocated for the education [sector], as an affirmation of [Britain’s] commitment to support this sector and efforts to develop it and improve its accomplishments.
This was said during a phone call that Saidam received from British Minister [of State for the Department for] International Development Alistair Burt. Saidam emphasized that the donors’ continued support for the education [sector] proves the confidence in the Palestinian [PA] education system, its efficiency, and its ability to record quality achievements.
He emphasized the importance of continuing this aid, whose goal is to support the education [sector], particularly in the fields that contribute to strengthening the education system.”
[WAFA, official PA news agency, Nov. 25, 2017]
In July 2017, PA Minister of Education Sabri Saidam announced the UK’s “continued support for education in Palestine”:
Saidam: The British Department for [International] Development continues its support for Palestinian education
“[PA] Minister of Education and Higher Education [and Fatah Central Committee Deputy Secretary] Dr. Sabri Saidam announced that Britain will continue its support for education in Palestine, and that a joint Palestinian-British committee will be established to monitor several issues related to the education sector, continue the strengthening of the support provided to this sector, and expand the horizons of the cooperation in a manner that will ensure achieving the goal of improving the quality of the education and its output.”
[Ma’an, independent Palestinian news agency, July 26, 2017]