How much did the Palestinian Authority spend in terror salaries in 2020?

The PA doled out 517 million shekels in reward money to terrorists last year, but are stymied in 2021 thanks to Israel’s new pay-for-slay law.

By Paul Shindman, World Israel News

The Palestinian Authority paid at least 512 million shekels ($157 million) in salaries last year under its pay-for-slay policy in which convicted Palestinian terrorists and their families are given monthly stipends, a watchdog organization reported Monday.

Those payments amounted to 3.25% of the PA’s 2020 budget with salaries going to terrorists serving jail terms in Israeli prisons, released prisoners and families of “martyrs,” including those of suicide bombers, reports Palestinian Media Watch in a new study. The Jerusalem-based NGO monitors what the Palestinians say in Arabic and translates it to English.

PMW’s Director of Legal Strategies, Maurice Hirsch, spearheaded the Israeli anti-terror legislation that went into effect Dec. 30, 2020, which prohibits “any banking transaction whose purpose is the payment of a reward for an act of terror.” Any Palestinian bank that does so exposes itself to legal action if it helps transfer the pay-for-slay salaries.

Hirsch said the legislation appears to be working, as the PA lumped January and February payments into the money handed out in December before the new law came into force.

“The PA hasn’t paid any salaries to the terrorists in 2021,” Hirsch told World Israel News. “They paid for January and February upfront in December because they don’t know how to circumvent my idea.”

The Palestinians are also stressed by the cut in American government funding due to the Taylor Force Act that was signed into law in 2018 and blocks U.S. funding to the PA unless they stop the payments to terrorists. The bill was named for American graduate student Taylor Force, who was murdered by a Palestinian in 2016 while on a study trip to Israel.

Force’s Palestinian murderer was killed by police. Because the killer is considered a “martyr” by the Palestinians, his family is paid a monthly pension equal to several times the average monthly Palestinian wage.

PMW’s research also showed that in 2020 the PA attempted to hide its payments to terrorist prisoners by transferring over a billion shekels to the PLO, of which 512 million shekels was paid to the terrorists.

PA head Mahmoud Abbas has repeatedly pledged to continue the payments to the Palestinian terrorists and their families despite the Israeli and American laws that severely reduced funding to the Palestinians and caused a financial crisis.

“We won’t allow anyone to interfere with the money,” Abbas said previously. “They are our martyrs and prisoners and the injured, and we will continue to pay them. We started the payments in 1965.”