Photo by Gideon Markowicz/TPS on 1 January, 2024

‘You Can’t Live With Neighbors Who Make a Living Off Our Deaths’: Ramallah Recognizes Oct. 7 Terrorists For Stipends

Public By Sveta Listratov • 11 January, 2024

Jerusalem, 11 January, 2024 (TPS) -- Since October 7, the Palestinian Authority has added thousands of Palestinians to its list of people who qualify to receive controversial terror stipends, an Israeli watchdog reported on Wednesday. The findings sparked outrage among Israeli residents of communities devastated by Hamas’s massacre.

The Jerusalem-based Palestine Media Watch said that Palestinian officials announced that 3,550 terrorists imprisoned in Israel would receive payouts, as would the families of 23,210 “martyrs.” The figure for the prisoners was announced on the Telegram channel of the PA-funded Prisoners’ Club. The number of martyrs — which includes terrorists killed while carrying out attacks — was reported in Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, the official PA daily newspaper on Jan. 10.

“This is important because the PLO Commission of Prisoners pays the salaries. It means that the Gaza terrorists are recognized officially and are going to receive salaries,” PMW director Itamar Marcus told the Tazpit Press Service regarding the prisoners.

“We already knew this, but now it’s official,” Marcus added. “This means that the PA sees all those killed by Israel as innocent victims. Even the terrorists are victims because the PA has said their attack was justified in response to Israel’s occupation of seven decades – i.e., since Israel’s creation.”

Of the 3,550 terrorists slated to receive payouts, 661 are Hamas terrorists from Gaza. The remainder are Palestinians arrested in almost daily Israeli counter-terror operations around Judea and Samaria. According to Israeli figures, around 1,300 of the terror suspects arrested in counter-terror raids since October 7 are affiliated with Hamas.

“The nearly 67% rise in the number of prisoners will initially cost the PA an additional $1,331,000 per month (4,970,000 shekels), adding $16 million to last year’s expenditure of $161 million (600,000,000 shekels) on terror salaries,” PMW reported.

Adele Raemer, a resident of Kibbutz Nirim who has been evacuated to Eilat was angered to learn of the new Palestinian payouts.

“This is outrageous. We teach our children coexistence while this announcement teaches the public that terrorism pays off,” the dual Israeli-US national told TPS.

“It’s very personal for me — I almost paid for this with my life, and the lives of my granddaughters, my son, when we all were almost murdered in our safe rooms. I have friends from my community who paid with their lives, and two members of our community are now rotting in the Hamas tunnels since they were kidnapped,” said Raemer.

“I want to go home very much, but you can’t live with neighbors who make a living off our deaths,” she told TPS.

‘Pay for Slay’

The Palestinian Authority is legally mandated to allocate seven percent of its annual budget for its so-called “Martyr’s Fund,” which provides stipends to Palestinian terrorists in Israeli prisons, and the families of terrorists killed in attacks. The size of the monthly payouts is primarily determined by the duration of the terrorist’s incarceration, with a negligible additional factor based on family size

Israeli officials say the payouts provide incentives for terror and regularly offsets an equivalent amount from taxes that Israel collects on behalf of the Palestinian Authority.

Ramallah has been paying out stipends for years, but the issue came under a spotlight following the murder of Taylor Force, a U.S. citizen killed by a Palestinian who went on a stabbing rampage in Jaffa in 2018. Congress passed the Taylor Force Act, which halted U.S. aid to the Palestinians as long as terror stipends are being paid out.

U.S. assistance to the Palestinian Authority resumed under the administration of President Joe Biden. In December 2022, American victims of Palestinian terror filed a lawsuit against the President and Secretary of State Antony Blinken, arguing that the payments violate the Taylor Force Act. Congress has examined the issue as well.

At least 1,200 people were killed in Hamas’s attacks on Israeli communities near the Gaza border on Oct. 7. The number of men, women, children, soldiers and foreigners held captive in Gaza by Hamas is now believed to be 136. Other people remain unaccounted for as Israeli authorities continue to identify bodies and search for human remains.