The Palestinian Authority (PA) recently boasted, via the Palestinian media, about the financial benefits it was supplying for Palestinian terrorists after they get out of jail. This is an issue at the moment because the United States coerced Israel to comply with Palestinian demands to release 102 Palestinian terrorists from prison in order to get the Palestinians to meet Israelis for another round of peace talks. It was then revealed that released prisoners receive up to $50,000 upon release (based on years served) and a monthly pension of $1,135. Earlier this year the Palestinians came under pressure to stop paying imprisoned terrorists salaries.
All these Palestinians were convicted of killing people (usually Israeli civilians) but are considered heroes by the Palestinian government and most Palestinians. These payments have been made for over a decade, and the Palestinians sought to keep it out of their English language media so that the Western donors would not get upset and reduce their contributions. These payments were not a secret, but the Palestinians understood that Westerners would not appreciate any of their considerable aid money going to jailed terrorists. So the Palestinians made a real effort to keep this news from the Western media, which tended to be happy with Palestinian press releases and rarely bothered to translate Palestinian Arab language media and government documents.
Over the last few years these payments became more widely known in the West and the Palestinian Authority (PA) was forced to deal with this issue. At first the PA complained to the UN about Western, especially Israeli, media describing the $5 million a month the PA pays to the families of terrorists as support of terrorism. This raises some serious legal issues for many Western aid organizations because for them it is illegal to contribute to the PA if any of that money would be used to support terrorism. That sort of thing is frowned on in the West.
The PA considers Palestinians jailed (usually in Israel but some in Moslem nations) for terrorism to be freedom fighters, even if their victims were Israeli women and children (as well as some foreigners, including Moslems). The PA feels an obligation to make welfare payments to the families of imprisoned terrorists, if only because the PA has been glorifying terrorism for decades and considers terrorism its only effective weapon against Israel and other foes. Payments are also made to the families of deceased terrorists. The size of each payment is adjusted for how long the terrorists is in prison for and how much damage he did with his attacks. The average payment is $770 a month and the highest ones are nearly $3,000 a month. Some Moslem countries willingly contribute to this effort. For example, up until 2003, Iraq paid $30,000 to the family of each dead Palestinian terrorist. The PA wants the UN to get the Western and Israeli media to stop defaming Palestinian freedom fighters like this and is making some progress there.
Publicizing this practice has forced the PA and their Western donors to adjust. The most frequent solution is to insist that none of the Western aid money goes to terrorist payments because that money comes from Moslem sources. This is just an accounting trick but is often sufficient for many Western donors. Moslem nations have no problem with their aid money going to imprisoned terrorists, which will be the next embarrassing item to be raised. But for now it’s all about recasting the books to make these payments legal for donors from countries with laws hostile to Islamic terrorists.
The Palestinians are also criticized by Western donor nations for asking for more aid to pay civil servants while refusing to cut payments to imprisoned terrorists. What the Palestinians do not want to discuss is the fact that these payments make terrorist deaths more palatable to the survivors and assist in recruiting. Knowing that you will still have an income even if sent to prison for your terrorist attacks, and that your family will receive a large payment if you are killed, is a big inducement for unemployed young Palestinians to join terrorist organizations.
Western donors have more serious problems with corruption among Palestinian government officials. This is far more expensive than the payments to imprisoned terrorists but the Palestinians are even more reluctant to discuss it.