Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Qadri Abu Bakr, who directs the Palestine Liberation Organization's Commission of Prisoners' Affairs, recently issued a defiantly assurance that they won't end payments to terrorists and their families despite international pressure.
Bakr "emphasized that the leadership ... will continue to support the resolve of the prisoners and their families and will not succumb to the Israeli and American pressures calling to stop the Martyrs' (Shahids) and prisoners' salaries (rawatib) and allowances (mukhassasat)," reports the official PA daily Al-Hayat Al Jadida and translated by Palestinian Media Watch (PMW).
Bakr's sentiment mirrors Abbas'.
"By Allah, even if we have only a penny left it will only be spent on the families of the Martyrs and the prisoners, and only afterwards will it be spent on the rest of the people," Abbas said on official PA TV in July, adding that "martyrs and prisoners" are "stars in the sky" and that these terrorists "have priority in everything."
These statements reaffirm that Palestinians convicted of attacking Israelis take precedent over all over sectors of Palestinian society. In fact, terrorists and their families receive far higher payments than welfare recipients.
The amount of money paid to imprisoned or released terrorists depends on the length of sentence, which is a function of an action's severity. The more brutal the attack or murder, the more money a Palestinian prisoner receives.
Despite growing international pressure to halt this practice, roughly half of the foreign aid that the PA receives is allocated for payments to terrorist inmates and the "families of martyrs."
The Palestinian government spends $355 million annually on terrorist salaries, about 7.5 percent of the PA's budget, a PMW analysis shows.
This form of Palestinian incitement is one of the main reasons the Trump administration has taken specific measures against the Palestinian Liberation Organization in recent weeks. In mid-September, the administration revoked residency permits for the family of the PLO's envoy to the United States and reportedly shut down all PLO bank accounts in the country. The White House announced the closure of the PLO office in Washington a week earlier.