The Palestinian Authority passed a law last month granting all PA residents and Israeli Arabs imprisoned by Israel for terror crimes a monthly salary, Palestinian Media Watch reports.
According to PMW, the PA has defined by law which residents and Israeli Arabs would be deemed "prisoners" as "Anyone imprisoned in the occupation's [Israel's] prisons as a result of his participation in the struggle against the occupation."
In other words, all PA residents in Israeli prisons for terror crimes are officially added to the PA payroll. According to the definition in the PA law, PA car thieves in Israeli prisons will not receive a salary, but Hamas and Fatah terrorist murderers will.
The PA also gives a salary to Israeli Arabs convicted of terror crimes against Israel - the country of which they are citizens. PA benefits to Israeli Arab terrorists, in fact, are greater than the ones extended to PA resident terrorists.
Additionally, those serving more than 20-year sentences will receive a greater PA salary than prisoners serving shorter sentences, the new PA law establishes. Salaries are to be paid from the day of arrest until release.
More than 6,000 Palestinian prisoners are currently serving time in Israeli prisons for terror-related offenses, PMW says.
Among those now eligible are Abdullah Barghouti, serving 67 life sentences; Hassan Salameh, serving 38 life sentences; and Jamal Abu Al-Hijja, serving nine life sentences, all of whom are imprisoned for planning suicide bombings - three terrorists PMW recently reported as being called "heroic" by the official PA daily.
PMW noted the new PA law stipulates that payment of salaries "will be implemented... on the basis of available sources of funding." When the PA is short of cash for salaries, the salaries to the prisoners will be cut.
The PA has reported that the US, the EU, France, Britain, Ireland, Norway, Japan, India and the World Bank have all given money to the PA for its general budget in 2010-2011.
Such direct funding could be part of the "available sources" for terrorist salaries, or could free money elsewhere in the PA budget that could be used for these salaries, PMW says.
The list provided by PMW is not exhaustive as it relies solely on reports in the official PA daily. The PA receives financial aid from many other donors as well.
Recently, the EU announced the transfer of 45 million euros to the PA for salaries: "Some EUR 45 million of the funds from today's decision will go towards salaries and pensions of vital workers, mainly doctors, nurses and teachers."
In November 2010, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced the transfer of an additional grant to the PA's general budget: "After the transfer of the $150 million, the sum which the American administration will have transferred as direct budgetary aid to the PA for 2010 totals $225 million."
Although the EU, US and other donors are not intentionally funding salaries for terrorists, PMW says, their funding of other PA salaries and the budget makes money available in the general budget to pay terrorist salaries.
This Palestinian Authority law was enacted before the recent Fatah-Hamas reconciliation agreement. It was published in the official PA Registry on April 13, 2011.
Founded in 1996, Palestinian Media Watch is an Israeli research institute that studies Palestinian society from a broad range of perspectives by monitoring and analyzing the Palestinian Authority through its media and schoolbooks.