Photo Credit: Majdi Fathi/TPS
Fatah supporters in Gaza. Feb 11, 2020

The Palestinian Authority (PA) has been trying to hide its payment of salaries to terrorists imprisoned in Israel, from donor countries that support it, an Israeli watchdog has exposed.

The Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) has for years been warning donor countries that funds they give to the PA are being used to fund terrorism support terrorists.


Facing opposition and pressure from the donor countries, the PA has been employing various methods to confuse and distract its donors. In 2014, the PA closed its Ministry of Prisoners’ Affairs, and in 2015 it created the PLO Commission of Prisoners’ Affairs. In 2018, it reopened the PA Ministry of Prisoners’ Affairs and in 2019 it changed its name to the Commission for Detainees’ Affairs.

Now in 2020, it is trying to hide its payments by moving them once again from the PA to the PLO.

The PA’s monthly “budget performance reportsת” which are supposed to be a transparent reflection of its real expenses for the benefit of donor countries, do not list any payments to terrorist prisoners in its 2020 expenditures. However, PA Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh announced in March that the PA is still paying prisoners’ salaries and is even giving them a priority.

“Clearly the PA’s published “transparent” reports are just a charade to distract donors,” PMW charged.

The PA’s monthly financial documents for 2020 show that the PA is, again, trying to hide its monthly salary payments to the terrorist prisoners from the international community. Its monthly budget performance reports for 2018 and 2019 listed the salaries to terrorist prisoners as expenditures of the PA Ministry of Prisoners’ Affairs. However, since the beginning of 2020, there is no listing at all for the Ministry of Prisoners’ Affairs.

PMW has examined the PA’s financial reports, as well as statements of PA officials, and can confirm that even though the PA has removed the listing of the Ministry of Prisoners’ Affairs the, it is still paying the monthly salaries to terrorist prisoners, but is trying to hide them by listing them under a different category.

Every month the PA transfers millions of shekels to “PLO institutions.” PMW’s analysis of the PA “budget performance reports” shows that while the expenditure on the Ministry of Prisoners’ Affairs has been removed, there has been a huge increase in the amount the PA transfers to the “PLO institutions” – an amount equivalent to what the PA used to allocate to the Ministry of Prisoners’ Affairs.

In 2020, with the PA again paying the terrorists through the PLO, the annual “transfer expenditures” of the “PLO institutions” based on the first quarter of 2020 will rise from NIS 161 million in 2019 to 595 million shekels in 2020, an increase of 270%.

“The PA is continuing to fund the salaries to terrorists but is listing it, not as a direct PA expense, but hiding it under the PLO expenditures,” the watchdog explained. “The reason for this is very clear.”

As a recipient of international funding, the PA is obligated by donor countries to show full transparency and publicly list all its expenses, whereas the PLO is not accountable to anyone for how it spends its money. The PA wants to prevent the international community from seeing its expenditures on salaries to terrorists in prison.

Donor countries “should be alarmed” by the PA’s maneuvers and by the “deception” created by them, PMW underscored.

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