An organization that monitors Palestinian media has alerted the State Department that the Palestinian Authority has ignored a deadline for ending financial support for terrorists.
In a letter to acting Secretary of State John J. Sullivan and Secretary of State designate Michael Pompeo, Palestinian Media Watch pointed out the PA has been open about its refusal to comply with requirements established by Congress to qualify for continuing financial support from the United States.
WND reported only weeks ago that the PA completely rejected the Taylor Force Act passed by Congress, which cuts most U.S. financial aid to the governing body if it continues to pay terrorists’ salaries.
The bill is named after an American who was killed by terrorists in the Middle East. It halts virtually all U.S. aid to the Palestinians because they pay salaries to terrorists who are jailed or annuities to their families if they are killed.
The payments have amounted to hundreds of millions of dollars a year.
PMW documented PA President Mahmoud Abbas’ statement to the PLO Central Council that “we will continue to pay them.”
Official PA TV said there is “something that the Americans are telling us to stop – the salaries of the martyrs and the martyrs’ families.”
“Of course we categorically reject this. We will not under any circumstances allow anyone to harm the families of the prisoners, the wounded, and the martyrs. They are our children and they are our families.”
Now PMW has written to the U.S. government with documentation of the PA’s open defiance of U.S. efforts to cut down on terrorism.
“Section 4 of the Taylor Force Act (TFA), passed on March 23, 2018, requires that the Secretary of State certify that the Palestinian Authority (PA), the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and any successor or affiliated organization ‘are taking credible steps to end acts of terrorism’; ‘have terminated payments for acts of terrorism’; ‘have revoked any law, decree regulation or document authorizing or implementing a system of compensation for imprisoned individuals’; and ‘are publicly condemning such acts of violence’ or face a limitation on the U.S. aid provided to the PA,” the report said.
However, the PMW letter explained, just days after passage of the Taylor Force Act, the Palestinian Authority publicized the PA budget for 2018, which had recently been approved by Abbas.
“PMW’s analysis of the budget demonstrated that the PA had not fulfilled the terms of TFA and were continuing to pay salaries to terrorists and allowances to families of ‘martyrs.’ In fiscal year 2018 the PA allocated 550 million shekels ($158 million) for the payment of salaries to terrorist prisoners and released terrorists and 687 million shekels ($197 million) were allocated to the payments to families of ‘martyrs’ and wounded.”
PMW said that most significantly, in “an act of complete and open defiance of the TFA, the PA stopped attempting to hide that it is the PA that pays salaries to all the terrorist prisoners.”
“In its 2018 budget, for the first time since 2014 when it attempted to deceive the international community, the PA now openly lists the sums allocated for these salaries to the Commission of Prisoners’ Affairs as a direct PA budgetary expense,” PMW said.
“Needless to say, the honoring and glorification of terrorists and acts of violence is not only deplorable, but is precisely the opposite of the TFA’s requirement that the PA, the PLO and their affiliated organizations condemn terror,” the letter said.
Among the statements by the PA:
PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas to the PLO Central Council: “There is something that the Americans are telling us to stop – the salaries of the martyrs and the martyrs’ families. Of course, we categorically reject this. We will not under any circumstances allow anyone to harm the families of the prisoners, the wounded, and the martyrs. They are our children and they are our families. They honor us, and we will continue to pay them before the living.”
Director of Commission of Prisoners’ Affairs Issa Karake: “The family of every Palestinian prisoner receives social aid. We’re proud of this, not ashamed of it, and we say this openly, because it’s our national, human, and moral obligation, and the obligation of the struggle. It is supported by the Palestinian leadership and by the Palestinian government.”
Official spokesman of the PA National Unity Government Yusuf Al-Mahmoud: “The [PA] government’s rejection and condemnations of Congress’ conditioning the continuation of the American aid to the Palestinian state’s institutions on the martyrs’ (Shahids’) and prisoners’ allowances (mukhassasat) being stopped. … In the eyes of our people, our nation, and our cause, the martyrs and prisoners are sacred symbols of freedom, struggle, protecting human dignity, and resistance to submission and humiliation. All of these titles are noble titles, and an anchored right of all humans, which cannot be bought or sold for any fortune in the world.”
PMW said that since passage of the Taylor Force Act, no PA condemnations of Palestinian violence have been publicized in the official PA media.
“The opposite is true, the PA and Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah party have continued to honor and glorify terrorists and their actions. April 16 was the 30th anniversary of Israel’s killing arch-terrorist Khalil Al-Wazir ‘Abu Jihad,’ who the PA and Fatah have repeatedly ‘credited’ with planning the murder of 125 Israelis.”
PMW said the PA “has not taken any actions to end its program of rewarding terrorists, has not changed the PA law mandating salaries be paid to terrorist prisoners, and does not intend to take such actions.”
“Rather, in acts of open defiance, the PA has included salaries to Palestinian terrorist prisoners and payments to the families of so-called ‘martyrs’ in the 2018 budget. In addition, it has publicly stated at the highest political level that it will continue making these payments even if they have no money left for anything else.”