Despite the Palestinian Authority’s financial hardships, it spends tens of millions of shekels each month paying salaries to prisoners held in Israeli jails for security offenses and acts of terrorism against Israel — including mass murderers — and last year Prime Minister Salam Fayyad tripled their monthly pay. The PA also pays monthly stipends to the families of suicide bombers.
Payments are made not only to members of Fatah, the political faction of PA President Mahmoud Abbas, but also to those of his bitter Islamist rivals from Hamas, and other factions.
As of May 2011, the PA spent NIS 18 million ($4.5 million) per month on compensating Palestinian inmates in Israeli prisons and a further NIS 26 million ($6.5 million) on payments to families of suicide bombers. In all, such payments cost the PA some 6 percent of its overall budget, Israel’s Channel 2 news reported on Monday night, citing documentation signed by Fayyad.
The PA also makes payments to Israeli Arabs jailed for security offenses against Israel, the report said.
Starting in 2003, Palestinian law mandated the dispensation of a monthly salary of NIS 1,000 ($250) to security detainees sentenced to up to five years in prison. The longer the sentence, the higher the pay. An inmate serving a life sentence was paid NIS 4,000 ($1,000) per month.
An amendment of the law in January 2011 enacted by Fayyad increased the salaries by up to 300%, Channel 2 reported.
A prisoner sentenced up to three years in prison now receives a base salary of NIS 1,400 per month, and for 3-5 years that rate increases to NIS 2,000, the report said. A NIS 300 bonus is added for a wife, and NIS 50 per child.
According to the Channel 2 report, the PA-funded salaries are an equal opportunity benefit; members of Fatah, Hamas, and Islamic Jihad all receive them.
Prisoners’ salaries also increase based on how many years they have served. Abdullah Barghouti, a Hamas bomb-maker who was sentenced in 2004 to 67 life terms for orchestrating the killings of 67 Israelis, receives a monthly stipend of NIS 4,000. In less than a year that figure will rise to NIS 6,000 ($1,500).
Another major Hamas terrorist figure, Abbas al-Sayyeed, convicted of planning the 2002 Park Hotel massacre, in which 30 Israeli civilians were killed as they sat down for a Passover meal, is paid NIS 12,000 ($3,000) per month.
Prisoners who have sat more than 30 years in Israeli prison receive NIS 12,000 per month.