While the Palestinian Authority bemoans its cash-strapped state and pleads with donor nations to make good on their pledges, its government continues to pay monthly salaries to convicted terrorists serving time in Israeli prisons.
Members of the U.S. Congress last week were given documentation on the PA's support for imprisoned terrorists.
The report was presented by the Palestinian Media Watch, a watchdog group that translates Arabic-language newspaper articles and broadcasts. The organization enables people around the world to see the difference between the claims PA leaders make in English and Hebrew in public forums, and their statements to their constituents in their own language.
The report informed the lawmakers that the PA government is using funds from its general budget to pay the monthly salaries of the imprisoned PA Arab and Israeli Arab terrorists under a law passed in April that simply “formalizes what has long been a PA practice.”
The total amount spent by the PA government on terrorist prisoner salaries is a whopping $5 million-plus, according to the PMW report.
In addition, the group documented the ways in which the PA actively honors those who are serving life sentences for murder. The government has repeatedly honored such terrorists by naming summer camps and schools after them.
“The U.S. funds the PA's general budget,” the report read. “Through the PA budget, the U.S. is paying the salaries of terrorist murderers in prison and funding the glorification and role modeling of terrorists.” The report went on the explain that the average “salary” of such prisoners – $3,200 per month – outstrips that of the PA civil servants, who generally earn $2,800 per month. The U.S. government donated nearly $600 million to the Palestinian Authority last year, according to the report, a sum which included $225 million in direct budgetary assistance.
Legislators in both the United States and Britain responded with shock and anger. The U.S. State Department did not return calls from Fox News seeking a comment on the report, released last week.
U.S. Representative Trent Franks (AZ-R) said bluntly that he could not back funding for the PA after hearing the report.
“I cannot support sending millions of American taxpayer dollars to such an organization, especially when they are currently paying salaries to over 5,500 terrorists sitting in Israeli prison,” he was quoted as saying by Fox News.
“No American funds to the West Bank were ever to be made available for the purpose of recognizing or otherwise honoring individuals who commit or have committed acts of terrorism. This disgraceful waste of taxpayer dollars is an affront to freedom and an insult to Israel, the most precious ally America has in the world.”
Britain's Daily Mail quoted Tory MP Philip Davies -- who also received a report -- expressing similar sentiments, calling such payments “ludicrous” and slamming any aid to the PA. “People think overseas aid is to try to alleviate terrible poverty in places where they can't afford to look after themselves,” Davies said. “But it's being put to these kind of purposes. It would be bad enough at the best of times, but at a time when we have got no money, it is utterly inexcusable.”