Photo Credit: Hadas Parush / Flash 90
The Palestinian Authority government Muqata compound, Ramallah, March 10, 2019

A Palestinian Authority hospital in Bethlehem has announced that it is reducing the number of beds in the hospital by 20 percent and not accepting any patients to its cardiology department referred by the PA Health Ministry because the PA owes the hospital NIS 65 million (approximately $18.2 million).

This comes just three weeks after Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) reported that the PA was so anxious to pay the terrorists who had been arrested since October 7 that it decided to bypass its own regulations to make it easier for the terrorists to receive a PA salary.


Prior to October 7, the PA was spending between NIS 50 and NIS 55 million per month to pay salaries to imprisoned terrorists. With thousands of new imprisoned terrorists eligible for salaries the PA terror payments should reach 65 million shekels per month.

If the PA would decide to cancel its terror rewards for just one month it could give the NIS 65 million to the hospital and have the PA’s money help sick patients instead of rewarding terrorists.

But based on past PA behavior, the PA will never stop paying salaries to terrorists; rather, it will instead tug on the heartstrings of international donors and beg for money.

Based on past donor behavior, they will not tell the PA: ‘Use your own money instead of giving it away to terrorists,’ but will use their taxpayers’ money to cover the PA’s debt so the PA can continue paying salaries to terrorists.

The independent PNN (Palestinian News Agency) reported on February 19 that the hospital would cut is services due to the funding crunch.

“The Bethlehem Arab Society for Rehabilitation (BASR) Hospital board of directors announced a stoppage in receiving patients with referrals from the PA Ministry of Health in a number of [hospital’s] departments, in particular referrals to the heart disease department, and a reduction in accepting patients referred to other departments,” the hospital announced, according to PNN.

“A letter from the BASR board of directors to PA Minister of Health Dr. Mai Al-Kaila and the Palestinian [Authority] government… said that the BASR was forced to reduce the number of hospital beds from 100 to 80.”

The number of employees was also reduced due to the hospital’s financial crisis, after the Palestinian Authority Health Ministry’s cumulative debt reached NIS 65 million (approximately $18.2 million).

According to the letter, “In light of the severe monetary circumstances in the hospital, we will continue to provide medical services according to the BASR’s capability.” The letter further explained that it was decided to stop receiving patients to the cardiology department “due to the inability to provide them with all the medical equipment that is necessary for its operation aside from cases of heart attack… The BASR also decided to stop receiving emergency cases (urgent care) [parentheses in source] and to reduce reception of patients for surgeries.”

The BASR hospital council said the decisions would take effect at the start of March (2024). The hospital council noted that in recent years “paths have opened for resolving the problem of the cumulative debt, and the hospital has taken a lot upon itself with the employees and teams, but today it is no longer possible to continue bearing this anymore.”

The Palestinian Authority government allocated about $300 million in 2016 on monthly salaries and benefits rewarding imprisoned and released terrorists, and the families of so-called “martyrs,” according to the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.

Since October 7, 2023, the Palestinian Authority announced its recognition of an additional 3,550 terrorists as “prisoners of Israel”, making a total of 8,800 prisoners, including 661 Hamas terrorists from Gaza.

Before Oct. 7, the PA had been rewarding 5,250 prisoners and nearly 8,000 released terrorist prisoners with approximately $13.4 million (NIS 50 million) in monthly salaries as rewards for terror. The nearly 67 percent rise in the number of prisoners will initially cost the PA an additional $1,331,000 per month (NIS 4,970,000), adding $16 million to last year’s expenditure of $161 million (NIS 600,000,000) on terror salaries.

The additional $1,331,000 per month are only the initial costs, however.

According to PA law, each of the new terrorist prisoners will receive a starting salary of NIS 1,400 shekels per month ($375 per month), which will rise the longer he or she is in prison, reaching a maximum of NIS 12,000 shekels ($3,215 per month).

In addition, the official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida announced on January 10 that there were 23,210 additional “martyrs.”

This followed an official announcement on January 7, 2024, by the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) “Families of the Martyrs and Wounded Institution” that it recognized an additional 22,000 “martyrs” in Gaza, which makes their families eligible to receive monthly stipends as well.

The Palestinian Authority funnels its payments through the PLO to the families of so-called “martyrs,” including all terrorists who were killed attacking Israelis; an immediate one-time NIS 6,000 grant and then NIS 1,400 per month for life.

No wonder the Ramallah government has racked up a massive debt to the Bethlehem hospital — not to mention the millions the PA owes to the Israel Electric Company…

Hana Levi Julian contributed to this report.


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