The PA is abusing the goodwill of the International Red Cross to pay salaries to Palestinian terrorists in Israeli prisons.
According to Palestinian Authority (PA) law, all Palestinians arrested for security offenses, including those who committed terror attacks, receive a PA salary from the date of arrest until the day of release. These salaries increase according to the amount of time the terrorist remains in prison and range from 1,400 shekels (appr. $400) to ($3400) shekels per month.
While the PA claims to foreign governments that these payments are “social welfare benefits” and not salaries, PMW has shown that this is false.
The PA Regulation 18 (2010), which established procedures for the payments to terrorist prisoners, states that a wakil – an “authorized agent” or “power of attorney” – will be appointed by the prisoner to determine who receives his salary. The regulation gives the prisoner the right to designate people other than his wife or parents.
Appointment of an “agent” can be authorized only by the prisoner’s signature on a special form. It is the International Red Cross (ICRC) that visits the prisoners and brings the forms for them to sign.
Accordingly, the ICRC, by supplying this form, is facilitating salary payment to terrorists, something that is not part of the organization’s humanitarian work.
Based on the above findings, the director of the legal department of Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) notified the ICRC.
The ICRC in its response differentiated between two types of prisoners, “internees” and “detainees.” “Detainees” includes those arrested, indicted or convicted of terrorism (see articles 66, 69 and 76 of Fourth Geneva Convention – GCIV), which includes the imprisoned Palestinian terrorists. In its response to PMW, about the “detainees,” the ICRC referred to article 10 of GCIV, according to which:
“The provisions of the present Convention constitute no obstacle to the humanitarian activities which the International Committee of the Red Cross or any other impartial humanitarian organization may, subject to the consent of the Parties to the conflict concerned, undertake for the protection of civilian persons and for their relief.”
Consent of Israeli Government Required
Since facilitating the payments of salaries to terrorists is not something the ICRC is compelled by GCIV to provide, and is certainly not part of the humanitarian work of the ICRC, all services to “detainees” requires the “consent of the Parties.” This means that the ICRC cannot facilitate these payments to terrorists without the consent of the Israeli government.
While it is unclear whether the ICRC knew, prior to PMW’s query, that the PA is using the form it provides as a means to pay the terrorist salaries, the ICRC’s response to PMW’s inquiry stated that the organization provides the function as a “humanitarian” activity.
Since Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has called numerous times for the PA to stop paying salaries to terrorist prisoners, PMW has written to Netanyahu to inform him that the ICRC in fact is facilitating the salary payments to terrorist prisoners.
We have asked the prime minister, in his capacity as minister of Foreign Affairs, to verify if Israel gave its consent to the ICRC to provide this authorization form to terrorists, which facilitates their receiving salaries from the PA.
Certainly, if that consent was given in the past, based on current Israeli policy, it should now be revoked.
By Itamar Marcus and Maurice Hirsch, Palestinian Media Watch