The PA is highly dependent on foreign aid. The international community donates primarily for the proper management of PA institutions and for promoting peaceful coexistence with Israel. However, in 2012 the PA found the funds and paid over $75 million to terrorists in Israeli prisons and $78 million to the families of deceased terrorists, including suicide bombers. Together, these amounts account for over 16% of the annual foreign donations and grants to the PA budget. This figure reflects only official transfers by the Ministry of Prisoners. It does not include any additional transfers from other bodies, such as the Ministry for Welfare and PA official funds. These payments account for approximately 5% of the Palestinian Authority’s total budget.
Some countries have already begun to reconsider their funding of the PA because of similar findings. Since 2011, Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) has been reporting on the PA’s practice of rewarding terrorists and murderers with high salaries. As a result, the PA has been criticized internationally for paying these salaries. Recently, several members of US Congress suggested that the US either cancel its aid to the PA entirely until it ends this practice or that the US deduct from its aid an amount equaling the amount of money the PA spends on terrorist salaries. Norway and Britain have also demanded explanations regarding these payments. The Palestinians relate to these payments as salaries, not as welfare or social aid. Qadura Fares, a former PA minister and current Chairman of the Prisoners’ Club stated on PA TV: “What is spent on the prisoners is exactly what is spent on me and you. These are salaries. Therefore, when the salaries are paid to those working in government offices and institutions, they will also be paid to the prisoners.” Hamas terrorsit Ziyad Awad, who was released in the Shalit deal and arrested recently for the murderer of Baruch Mizrahi on Passover eve, received a salary from the Palestinian Authority during his first imprisonment, was released and received a freed terrorist’s salary.
Minister Bennet said: “Now his conditions will again be improved in Abu Mazen’s ‘preferred employment’ scheme – after all, he murdered a Jew and has returned to prison. Amazing. The system is simple,” Bennett explained. “With one hand, Abu Mazen ‘condemns’ the abduction, of course, and with the other, which hands out cash for terrorism, he encourages it.”