By Maurice Hirsch, Adv., Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik, Palestinian Media Watch—
Ever since PMW first notified the donor countries that the PA was using their money to pay salaries to terrorist prisoners, the PA has been doing everything it can to confuse and distract its donors. In 2014, the PA closed the PA Ministry of Prisoners’ Affairs, and in 2015 it created the PLO Commission of Prisoners’ Affairs. In 2018, it reopened the PA Ministry of Prisoners’ Affairs and in 2019 it changed its name to the Commission for Detainees’ Affairs. Now in 2020, it is trying to hide its payments by moving them once again from the PA to the PLO.
The PA’s monthly “budget performance reports” which are supposed to be a transparent reflection of its real expenses for the benefit of donor countries, do not list even one shekel of payment to terrorist prisoners in its 2020 expenditures. Yet the PA Prime Minister openly announced in March that the PA is paying prisoners’ salaries, and is even giving them priority. Clearly the PA’s published “transparent” reports are just a charade to distract donors.
The Palestinian Authority’s monthly financial documents for 2020 show that the PA is, again, trying to hide its monthly salary payments to the Palestinian terrorist prisoners from the international community. Its monthly budget performance reports for 2018 and 2019 openly listed the salaries to terrorist prisoners as expenditures of the PA Ministry of Prisoners’ Affairs. However, since the beginning of 2020, there is no listing at all for the Ministry of Prisoners’ Affairs.
Palestinian Media Watch has examined the PA’s financial reports, as well as statements of PA officials, and can confirm that even though the PA has removed the listing of the Ministry of Prisoners’ Affairs the PA is still paying the monthly salaries to terrorist prisoners, but is trying to hide them by listing them under a different category.
Every month the PA transfers millions of shekels to “PLO institutions.” PMW’s analysis of the PA “budget performance reports” shows that while the expenditure on the Ministry of Prisoners’ Affairs has been removed, there has been a huge rise in the amount the PA transfers to the “PLO institutions” – an amount equivalent to what the PA used to allocate to the Ministry of Prisoners’ Affairs. In other words, the PA is continuing to fund the salaries to terrorists but is listing it, not as a direct PA expense, but hiding it under the PLO expenditures.
The reason for this is very clear. As a recipient of international funding, the PA is obligated by donor countries to show full transparency and publicly list all its expenses, whereas the PLO is not accountable to anyone for how it spends its money. The PA wants to prevent the international community from seeing listings like the one below in its “budget performance report” of 2019 showing 517 million shekels to pay salaries to terrorists in prison listed under the “Commission of Detainee Affairs”. (Note: the 517 million shekels in the right circle are the salaries to terrorists, while the 619 million shekels in the middle circle is the full budget of the Commission.)
Examining the Jan. – March 2020 listing below, we find the PA is now hiding its salaries to terrorists within the 148 million (right circle) in the category of “PLO institutions”-
This is not the first time the PA has tried to hide its expenditures on the salaries to the terrorist prisoners. In 2014, after a series of PMW events in European parliaments and meeting with members of the US Congress resulted in threats from the donors to cut all funding to the PA due to the PA’s terror rewards, the PA stopped paying salaries to terrorists directly. It closed its Ministry of Prisoners’ Affairs and transferred the terrorist payments to a new PLO Commission of Prisoners’ Affairs. At the time, PMW’s report The PA’s billion dollar fraud exposed the PA’s effort to deceive the world with a cosmetic change concealing its terror payments, which brought condemnation and outrage from the donor countries.
As the above graph demonstrates, in 2014, when the PA was openly listing its payments to the terrorist prisoners, its expenditure on the “PLO institutions” was only 328.6 million shekels. However, when the PA tried to hide the payments in 2015, 2016, and 2017, the PA expenditure on the “PLO institutions” suddenly spiked to 800 – 900 million shekels. In 2018, the PA reverted to openly listing its expenditure under the “Ministry of Prisoners’ Affairs”, and its expenditure on the “PLO institutions” plummeted. Now the PA is again trying to hide its salaries to the terrorist prisoners by having no listing at all for the “Ministry of Prisoners Affairs” but its expenditure on the “PLO Institutions” has risen again. Continue Reading…..