Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad has authorized a slew of benefits to keep the home fires burning for families of terrorists killed or injured during the "struggle against Israel" -- the euphemism for terror attacks against Israeli citizens, be they civilians or soldiers, men, women or children.
The Fayyad government has arranged regular monthly stipends for the families of the “shahids” (martyrs), according to a report published Wednesday by the Bethlehem-based, PA-linked Maan news agency. The report, published in Arabic only, said the funds are deposited into the bank accounts of the families at the same time that salaries are transferred to the accounts of PA government workers. An enhanced January stipend was already available to the families on Thursday.
Maan's English-language website, which did not carry the report, posted a separate article on Thursday praising a new contribution by the European Union of 21 million Euros to “help the Palestinian Authority pay the January salaries and pensions of 80,551 Palestinian public service providers and pensioners.” The article quoted Jerusalem-based EU representative Christian Berger, who noted, “At the request of Prime Minister Fayyad, the contribution made available by the European Union this month toward the regular payment of Palestinian civil servants and pensioners is higher than in previous months.”
The article added that the increase came “at the expense of EU funding for the Gaza Power Plant industrial fuel, causing controversy last week when the PA could not fulfill its promise to cover the costs, leaving Gaza without power as many as 12 hours a day.” The claim is questionable, since more than 75 percent of Gaza's power still comes from Israel's national grid.
Source of PA Funding for Terrorist Families?
There is growing concern in Israel about where the money with which the families of the “shahids” are being paid may be coming from. It is believed that at least part of it is derived from the internationally-donated funds that are transferred to the PA via the Bank of Israel for humanitarian purposes only. In any event, it is not clear whether or not the funds for the families of the terrorists are derived from the same source as those allocated for the PA government workers, much of which is donated by Western nations, including many European Union countries.
According to Maan's Arabic-language report, under the direction of PA Chairman and Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas, Fayyad made special arrangements to increase the stipends already being received by the “shahid” families. Moreover, it said, the PA Finance Ministry views the improvement of the families' quality of life as a moral obligation.
The PA Health Ministry is also working hard to improve their lot. The ministry has renewed health insurance for all family members of any terrorist killed or injured in the “struggle against Israel,” the Arabic-language report continued. In addition, the PA Ministry of Education is in the process of authorizing tuition exemptions for any child of a “shahid” family who wishes to attend a school or university in the Palestinian Authority.