Murphy's Law: Hamas Veterans Paid By the EU


December 14, 2023: The EU (European Union) is canceling programs that provided regular payments to the PA (Palestinian Authority), purportedly to spur economic development. This is nothing new as the EU has withheld funds after fraud was detected and that is alleged this time too. The EU is also withholding $118 million in aid to the PA for the West Bank Palestinians. The PA is accused of trying to deceive EU donors about where the money was going. This comes after an earlier dispute, for similar reasons, over $150 million in aid. The Palestinians insisted that $150 million was paying for general welfare and not to reward and encourage Palestinians to carry out terrorist attacks against Israelis. Since 2020 the Palestinians were, on paper at least, no longer using EU aid for their Ministry of Prisoners and the infamous Martyrs Fund. The EU has a policy of not allowing their aid to be used to support terrorism and would not make an exception for the Palestinians trying to kill Israelis.

The Palestinians agreed to the EU demands and eliminated Ministry of Prisoners funding from their budget. They failed to change the budget for other West Bank (PLO) institutions, which now showed an increase equal to what the Ministry of Prisoners was receiving. The Palestinians were also unable to hide the fact that they had not reduced the payments they were making to Palestinians for attacking, and especially killing Israelis. The Palestinian media had not let up on its encouragement for Palestinians, especially children, to eventually attack Israelis if they found an opportunity. The October 7, 2023, attacks by radical Palestinian group Hamas are not being praised by Palestinians while at the same time the PA is using aid money to make payments to families of Hamas men killed in the recent battles with the Israeli army and armed Israeli civilians.

For over a decade Palestinian government in the West Bank (Fatah) and Gaza (Hamas) have been undergoing increasing pressure from Israel and now aid donors to eliminate Palestinians payments to imprisoned terrorists and the families of dead terrorists. Up to half of the foreign aid received by the West Bank goes to these payments and Fatah has refused to end the system. In 2020 the covid19 virus spread to the West Bank and Gaza and the Palestinians asked for more foreign aid to deal with it. Donors were reluctant because the Palestinian governments have consistently diverted portions of any foreign aid to maintain the Martyrs Fund which regularly pays for the imprisoned, wounded or families of dead terrorists.

Palestinian leaders believed that the Martyrs Fund was more popular locally than covid19 was feared. That’s because, as of late April 2020, only two Palestinians had died of covid19. This was not a miracle but the reality of how covid19 works. Covid19 is similar to the annual appearance of influenza but has a higher fatality rate because it is particularly deadly against those who are already ill and vulnerable to breathing problems. This is especially true of the elderly. For healthy adults and children, nearly 90 percent of them will resist the virus and about ten percent will be infected but show no symptoms.

There were some efforts to deal with covid19, but only because many Palestinian leaders are elderly, and some are weakened by illness. For most Palestinians, whose welfare is invoked when Fatah or Hamas appeal for covid19 aid, not much was done to test or treat covid19 if aid is received, but the Martyrs Fund got its share anyway. The Al Fatah-controlled government of the West Bank even refused free vaccines offered by Israel because its propaganda accused Israel of providing tainted medicines to Palestinians.

This is not a new attitude, but it has become more visible to the outside world as more details about the Martyrs Fund are printed in the non-Arabic media. Particularly damning is how the Martyrs Fund encourages terrorism against Israel. For example, in 2019 Fatah threatened to cause an economic catastrophe by refusing partial payments from Israel and donor nations unless everyone stopped deducting the money Fatah spends on supporting and encouraging terrorist activity. This has become more of an issue since 2018 when Israel passed a law to deduct [state the amount] from the $130 million a month it collects in taxes and fees for the Palestinians in the West Bank because of the more than $20 million Fatah still pays to Palestinian terrorists in prison or to their families for deceased terrorists. The U.S. had already enacted a similar law and was deducting a similar amount from the $300 million it currently normally gave to the West Bank Palestinians each year. Other foreign donors have taken similar measures.

Fatah complains that the U.S., Israel, and other donors are being unfair. Yet it is no secret that many Palestinians become terrorists because of the financial rewards, which are considerable for many young residents of the West Bank impoverished by Fatah corruption and incompetence. Palestinians who are jailed, injured, or killed (martyred) while trying to kill Israelis receive large payments from Fatah. Families of dead terrorists get an immediate payment of $1,700 from Fatah plus monthly payments for the life of the immediate family. These monthly payments, $400 to over $1,000 depending on the number of wives and children, can make a family relatively affluent and open new opportunities, like saving enough cash to afford a people smuggler who can get one or more family members to the West. There is also a bonus ($86 a month) if you are a legal resident of Israel and a similar monthly bonus if you were a resident of Jerusalem. Fatah is currently paying about $200 million a year to the families of over 26,000 “martyrs” (dead terrorists) as well as smaller payments to 6,000 badly injured while trying to kill Israelis. Monthly payments to jailed Palestinians vary according to how long they have been in jail, how many dependents they have and so on. There are also bonuses for how many Israelis the prisoner killed or injured. Some of these convicts get over $50,000 a year. Fatah currently spends about $160 million a year to reward over 6,000 jailed terrorists. Fatah considers this payment program a success even though hundreds of Palestinians have died in the latest Fatah-promoted violence, the knife terrorism campaign that began in 2015 and after a year was attracting far fewer potential martyrs. These attacks also left a few Israelis dead and for Fatah that was political gold as far as Arab language media was concerned. But Fatah continues to praise the martyrs and encourage children to seriously consider it as a career choice.

Fatah and Hamas together spend over $400 million a year to make murder economically attractive to many young Palestinians. Most of it comes from Fatah although Hamas was, until October 7, trying to make more payments to Palestinians in the West Bank who support Hamas and attack Israelis in the name of Hamas. The Arab language media throughout the Middle East takes for granted that these payments are just and necessary for the war against Israel. In response to the recent American and Israeli efforts to penalize Fatah for what is spent to encourage terror attacks, Fatah made it clear it would not halt payments. Instead, it cut pay to Palestinians who worked for the Fatah-controlled West Bank government in the hope that Palestinian outrage over food shortages, etc., would be blamed on Israeli efforts to halt the pay for slay terrorism program. Fatah then pleaded with Russia and Arab oil states to help them out. That didn’t work because Russia was then broke and preferred to be on good terms with Israel, while the Arab oil state donors were fed up with the Palestinian preference for self-destructive behavior.

The Martyrs Fund is not unique in the Arab world because it is not just terrorist organizations that use it. During the 1980s Iran-Iraq war, the Sunni minority that ruled Iraq had to depend on the Shia majority to fight and die to keep the Saddam Hussein government in power. The wealthy Sunni oil states provided $47 billion in aid to Iraq, plus billions more in loans. It was understood that several billion would be spent on generous “death benefits” to the families of Iraqi Shia soldiers who died fighting the Iranians and even more on providing adequate medical care to the many more wounded Shia soldiers. This played a role in keeping the Shia soldiers loyal during the war even though before, and after the war, Saddam persecuted the Shia majority. These payments built on the fear all Arabs had of being conquered by the Iranians, who were Indo-European and not Semites. Iran has an Arab Shia minority that they have always treated badly, and this was known to the Iraqi Shia, but the large death benefits did make a crucial difference. These payments also played a role in the Iraqi decision to invade Kuwait in 1990. The Kuwaitis were pressing Iraq to pay back $10 billion in loans and Saddam declared this disgraceful after so many Iraqis had died keeping the Iranians out of Kuwait and the rest of Arabia. That did not end well, though the current Shia-dominated Iraq government had to pay over $50 billion to Kuwait for the death and destruction Saddam’s 1990-91 operations in Kuwait caused.




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