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PA salaries to terrorists and their familes
PA salaries to terrorists and their familes
In April 2011, the Palestinian Authority Registry published a Government Resolution granting all Palestinian prisoners imprisoned in Israel for security and terror-related offenses a monthly salary from the PA (Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, April 15, 2011). This new resolution, called PA Government Resolution of 2010, numbers 21 and 23, formalized what has long been a PA practice.

The PA defined which Palestinians would be considered "prisoners": "Anyone imprisoned in the occupation's [Israel's] prisons as a result of his participation in the struggle against the occupation" (Ch. 1 of Law of Prisoners, 2004/19, www.alasra.ps, accessed May 9, 2011)

According to the PA definition, more than 4,500 Palestinian prisoners (as of December 2012) serving time for terror-related offenses are recipients of PA salaries. This means that Palestinians convicted of crimes such as theft do not receive a salary, but Hamas and Fatah terrorist murderers do.

These monthly payments to prisoners are paid from the PA’s general budget and income taxes are paid, as is the case with all other PA salaries (Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, June 19, 2011). According to the language of the PA regulation as well as PA economic reports on government salaries, the monthly salaries to prisoners range from 1,400 shekels to 12,000 shekels. The PA economic report listed the prisoners’ salaries as part of the PA general salary budget, which includes civil servants, military personnel and others. (Life and the Market, supplement to Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, June 19, 2011). It was not listed as a social service payment.

The PA’s general budget and salary budget is funded by numerous donor countries. Since 2011, PMW has been documenting that international donors' aid money given for salaries and to the PA general budget pays the salaries of Palestinian terrorists imprisoned in Israel. This is in violation of the letter or spirit of the laws of the funding countries.

Responding to queries from donor countries following PMW reports, the PA told the donor countries that they changed the wording of the law from “salaries” – “ratib”- to “assistance” – “i’ana.” British Minister of State stated in a letter that “we have discussed these issues with the PA at the highest levels” and “the PA has now changed the wording in the Cabinet Decision to unambiguously refer to the payment as assistance – i’ana.’” (Letter from Minister of State Alan Duncan to MP Mike Freer, see report here) However, the PA immediately contradicted what Duncan had claimed, calling it a rumor:

“[Minister of Prisoners’ Affairs Issa] Karake denies rumors about changing salaries (Arabic: rawatib) into social assistance (Arabic: i'anat ijtima'iya)…” [WAFA (the official Palestinian Authority news agency), Dec. 27, 2012]
 
This was likewise corroborated by Prisoners' Club Chairman Qadura Fares, when he announced that the PA had finalized a final version of the law “which considers payments made to prisoners 'salaries,' (Arabic: ratib) to which no other term applies.” [Al-Quds Internet edition, Dec. 27, 2012]

In August 2014, the PA implemented another ruse to evade pressure from international ‎donors. The PA closed the PA Ministry of Prisoners’ Affairs and announced the ‎establishment of a new PLO Commission of Prisoners’ Affairs, which they claimed ‎would pay the salaries. ‎

However, the PLO Commission was new only in name. The PLO body would have the ‎same responsibilities and pay the exact same amounts of salaries to prisoners; the ‎former PA Minister of Prisoners’ Affairs, Issa Karake, became the Director of the new ‎PLO Commission and PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas retained overall supervision of ‎the PLO Commission. [PNN Palestine News Network (independent Palestinian news agency), Aug. 29, 2014] [Ayjal radio (independent Palestinian station), Aug. 30, 2014] [Official PA TV, May 9, 2015]

Nevertheless, many international donors accepted PA assurances that the PA was no ‎longer paying the salaries to terrorist prisoners. For instance, the Dutch government ‎made this statement in April 2015: ‎

‎“The responsibility for payments to prisoners was transferred to the PLO and will ‎no longer be charged to the budget of the PA, and these [payments to prisoners] ‎are not funded by PA tax revenues or donor funds. The PLO pays such costs ‎from their own income, where the Cabinet has no access.” [Question and ‎Answer session, Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, April 22, 2015] ‎
 
Ample evidence contradicts the PA assurances to the Dutch and other donors. These ‎findings are based entirely on information supplied by the PA: ‎

‎- In January 2015, the PA Ministry of Finance announced that the PA budget includes ‎transfer of salaries to prisoners in Israeli jails who were from Gaza. [Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, ‎Jan. 6, 2015] This openly contradicts the PA claim that the PA no longer pays salaries ‎to prisoners.‎

‎- When Israel withheld PA tax income in the first months of 2015, the PA announced ‎that prisoners receiving up to 2,000 shekels in salary a month would continue to ‎receive their full salary and those receiving more than 2,000 shekels would only ‎receive 60% of their salary -- the same reduction that was imposed on civil servants. ‎‎[Wattan News Agency, March 5, 2015] Were the PLO paying salaries from Arab donor ‎money and not the PA, Israel's holding up PA money would have no impact on terrorist ‎prisoners’ salaries. Clearly, it is still PA money paying terrorist prisoners’ salaries.‎

To view all PMW reports on PA salaries to terrorist prisoners, click here.

The following section documents all developments related to salaries for ‎Palestinian prisoners imprisoned in Israel:‎

PA Minister of Labor: Despite major drop in foreign aid, "We will not stop anyone’s salary" 
Source: Donia Al-Watan (independent Palestinian news agency), Mar. 27, 2017
Headline: “[PA] Minister Abu Shahla spoke with Donia Al-Watan about the salaries, financial crisis, electricity, temporary positions, and early pension”
     “[PA] Minister of Labor Ma’moun Abu Shahla said that the [PA] national unity government has a monthly revenue of 900 million [Israeli] shekels, and its monthly expenditures exceed 1.15 billion shekels. He noted that the unity government suffers from a [monthly] financial deficit that stands at 250 million shekels.
Dr. Abu Shahla added in a special interview with [the independent Palestinian news agency] Donia Al-Watan: ‘Some think that the international aid reaches the Palestinian government continuously… There were promises that the aid would reach five billion [dollars], and it started to drop until in 2015 it reached approximately 700 million dollars, and in 2016 not even 450 million [dollars] reached us.’ …
Dr. Abu Shahla emphasized that the most important thing for the government is the timely payment of the salaries, as they must be paid on the first of the month, and the unity government has not been late [in paying] the salaries by even one day. Despite [the fact that] the government’s revenue mainly arrives from its own sources alongside the international aid that reaches 10% of the general budget; despite the ongoing pressure of the international community that it is not possible to pay the salaries of the [public] employees in Gaza who are not working; and despite the threats of the World Bank and the European Union to stop the economic aid for the salaries, the government has committed itself to pay all of the salaries, and we will not stop anyone’s salary.”
PA official: Terrorist payments are a “national, moral and humanitarian responsibility,” PA will not give in to Israeli and US “extortion” 
Source: Donia Al-Watan (independent Palestinian news agency), Mar. 20, 2017
Headline: "Tayseer Khaled: The [PLO Palestinian] National Fund will continue in its commitments to the Palestinians"

"PLO Executive Committee member Tayseer Khaled emphasized that the [PLO] Palestinian National Fund will continue in its national and humanitarian commitments to the prisoners, Martyrs (Shahids), and wounded of Palestine, regardless of Israeli Minister of War (i.e., Defense) Avigdor Liberman's statements. He described these statements as part of an Israeli attempt to extort the Palestinian leadership and the PLO so that they will retreat from their commitments and from paying the allowances (mukhassasat) of the Martyrs' families, the Palestinian wounded and prisoners, and of all of the civilians that are suffering from the occupation’s terror, from its crimes, and from the terror of the settlers and their crimes.
Khaled noted in an interview with the media outlets that this position expresses the extent of the fascism and extremism that Liberman has reached in his behavior and positions.
He emphasized that these positions are unacceptable, irrelevant, and undeserving of discussion, and that they will have no effect on the position of the Palestinian side and the commitments of the National Fund to the prisoners, Martyrs, wounded, and their families.

[Click full article for more information]
PLO official: Israeli parliamentarian’s accusation of PNF as terror organization considered an “aggressive and terrorist way of acting”  
Source: Official PA daily, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Mar. 20, 2017
Headline: "Ismail: Israel’s decision regarding the [Palestinian] National Fund is aggression and terror"

"PLO Executive Committee member Muhammad Ismail emphasized that [Israeli Minister of Defense Avigdor] Liberman's latest statements, which accused the [PLO] Palestinian National Fund of terror, are part of a series of statements and attacks by the occupation government against the Palestinian people and its cause.
He explained that the National Fund is basically the treasury of the PLO, which is recognized by Israel as the representative of the Palestinian people. Ismail also explained yesterday [March 19, 2017] in an interview with Radio Mawtini that the occupation government does not have a right to accuse the National Fund of terror because of the mutual recognition between the PLO and Israel. He added that Israel's retreat from the signed agreements and its ignoring international decisions that have confirmed the right of the Palestinians to independence is considered an aggressive and terrorist way of acting."

On March 16, 2017, Israeli Minister of Defense Avigdor Liberman declared the Palestinian National Fund of the PLO a terrorist organization. The fund manages financial aid received by the PLO from different sources. The Israeli Ministry of Defense declare the fund a terror organization due to the fund's "massive support for elements responsible for committing severe acts of terrorism against Israel," and stated that the fund serves "as a significant financial pipeline for tens of millions of shekels that are transferred on a monthly basis to security prisoners held in Israel for committing acts of terrorism and to members of their families," and that "the fund also supports family members of terrorists who were wounded and killed while perpetrating acts of terrorism against Israel." It also stated that "the necessary steps will be taken, in Israel and abroad,
PA Ministry of Information: Israel “exceeds all terror,” is the “spiritual forefather of extremism and racism” 
Source: Official PA daily, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Mar. 20, 2017
Headline: "[PA] Ministry of Information: Liberman's declaration regarding the [Palestinian] National Fund is insolence"

"The [PA] Ministry of Information said that occupation [Israeli] Minister of War (sic., Defense) Avigdor Liberman’s declaration of the [PLO] Palestinian National Fund as a terrorist organization is the height of insolence and proof of political foolishness.
The ministry said in a statement: 'It would be more fitting for Liberman and all of the politicians in Israel to acknowledge that the occupation is an act that exceeds all terror, and that it is the spiritual forefather of extremism and racism.'
The ministry said that it thinks that Liberman's stupidity constitutes a continuation of the occupation state’s evasion of recognizing international law, and a desperate attempt to incite the world against the PLO and its mechanisms."

On March 16, 2017, Israeli Minister of Defense Avigdor Liberman declared the Palestinian National Fund of the PLO a terrorist organization. The fund manages financial aid received by the PLO from different sources. The Israeli Ministry of Defense declare the fund a terror organization due to the fund's "massive support for elements responsible for committing severe acts of terrorism against Israel," and stated that the fund serves "as a significant financial pipeline for tens of millions of shekels that are transferred on a monthly basis to security prisoners held in Israel for committing acts of terrorism and to members of their families," and that "the fund also supports family members of terrorists who were wounded and killed while perpetrating acts of terrorism against Israel." It also stated that "the necessary steps will be taken, in Israel and abroad, to seize and forfeit the property and money belonging to the fund.”
Palestinian Media Watch has documented that the
Families of "civilian Martyrs" complain about stopped payments 
Source: Ma’an, independent Palestinian news agency, Mar. 20, 2017
Headline: “The Association of the Martyrs’ Families demands to return to paying the allowances of two groups”

“The [PLO] National Association of the Martyrs’ Families of Palestine demanded to return to paying the monthly allowances (mukhassasat) of the Martyrs’ (Shahids’) families whose allowances were stopped last month [February 2017].
The Association said after a meeting of the Association's general secretariat yesterday [March 19, 2017] that the allowances of dozens of families of the Martyrs defined as ‘civilian Martyrs’ have been stopped, along with some of the wives of Martyrs who married the brothers of their Martyr spouses.
The Association explained that the final number of families whose allowances have been stopped has not yet been determined, but that it could be much higher than this.
Secretary-General of the Association Muhammad Sbeihat briefed the members of the general secretariat regarding the latest developments in this matter, and also about the content of the phone conversation he had with [PA] Prime Minister Dr. Rami Hamdallah. He emphasized that Hamdallah showed great willingness to cooperate dealing with this issue, which he considers most important.”
PA presidency: Palestinian National Fund not a terror organization, Israeli decision to blacklist it as such nullifies Oslo Accords’ “mutual recognition”  
Source: Official PA daily, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Mar. 17, 2017
Headline: “The [PA] presidency: Liberman’s declaration that the Palestinian National Fund is a ‘terror organization’ is a basic violation of the Oslo Accords”

“The [PA] presidency said yesterday [March 16, 2017] that Israeli Minister of War (i.e., Defense) Avigdor Liberman’s declaration and statements, according to which the Palestinian National Fund is a terror organization, constitute a basic violation of the Oslo Accords that were signed between the PLO and Israel.
The presidency added in a press statement that the National Fund is one of the PLO institutions that fills its role according to the agreements that were signed and according to the international standards of full transparency, and is under international supervision.
The statement also said: ‘While the American administration is trying to create an atmosphere that will contribute to creating peace through its conversations with all of the sides and the presence of [US] President Donald Trump’s representative in the region, this declaration constitutes an Israeli attempt to thwart and destroy the American efforts and disparage them.’
The presidency said: ‘We reject this decision entirely and demand that the Israeli government immediately deal with this matter and take it back, because this will lead to an explosion of the foundations of the accords and the legal relations with Israel.’

[Click full article for more information]
PA official alleges Israel is the source of terror; imprisoned Palestinian terrorists are “victims” 
Source: Wattan (independent Palestinian news agency)‎, Mar. 16, 2017
Headline: "Palestinian condemnation of Israel's decision to add the [Palestinian] National Fund to the 'terror' list"

"PLO Executive Committee member Wasel Abu Yusuf condemned the fact that Israeli Minister of War (sic. Defense) Avigdor Liberman added the Palestinian National Fund that belongs to the PLO to the 'terrorist organization' list, and warned that this step is an attempt to 'incite against the Palestinian leadership.'
Abu Yusuf said in a phone conversation with the [Turkish] news agency Anadolu that 'The struggle against the Israeli occupation is a legal right, and the victims and imprisoned during the Palestinian struggle against the occupation are protected by law.'
He added: 'The Palestinian National Fund is a national institution of the PLO, the legal representative of all of the Palestinians, and harming it means harming the whole body.'
He continued: 'The occupation is the source of the terror in the region, and we cannot accept these accusations.’"

[Click full article for more information]
American rep warns Abbas that Congress intends to condition aid on cessation of PA incitement and payments to families of terrorists 
Source: Amad, independent Palestinian news website, Mar. 15, 2017
Headline: “Radio: Greenblatt warned Abbas about the American Congress’ intention to stop the financial aid to the PA”
     “Hebrew radio noted that Palestinian sources said that American [Special] Representative [for International Negotations] Jason Greenblatt warned Palestinian [PA] President Mahmoud Abbas about the American Congress’ intention to condition the continued provision of financial aid to the PA on stopping the incitement to terror, and on the PA stopping the provision of financial aid to the families of the resistance fighters…
In a statement of the [American] Consulate [in Jerusalem] it was said that Abbas expressed to the American representative his confidence in the possibility of achieving a historical peace under the patronage of [US] President Donald Trump.
The statement also added that Abbas ‘promised to fight incitement, violence, and terror.’”
Imprisoned terrorists, including killer of Israeli minister, receive university BA, against Israeli law 
Source: Official PA daily, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Mar. 14, 2017
Headline: "Al-Quds Open University celebrates the graduation of two prisoners"
     "Al-Quds Open University and the [PLO] Commission of Prisoners and Released Prisoners' Affairs yesterday [March 13, 2017] celebrated the graduation of prisoners Majdi Hussein Yusuf Al-Rimawi (i.e., terrorist, participated in murder of Israeli Minister of Tourism Rehavam Ze'evi) and Abd Al-Karim Al-Dayem Fayyad 'Khader' (PMW could not verify the nature of his crimes -Ed.), who are among the first students to graduate the university's program that is meant to provide an education to the prisoners.
The ceremony was held at the university's presidential building in Ramallah, in the presence of the prisoners' families and Director of Commission of Prisoners and Released Prisoners' Affairs Issa Karake...
Prisoner Al-Rimawi is serving a life sentence, while prisoner Fayyad is serving an 18-year sentence. The two of them have been in the occupation's prisons since 2002."
Click to view bulletin

Click "full article" for a longer excerpt
PLO Commission of Prisoners Affairs opens university program for imprisoned Palestinian terrorists, against Israeli law 
Source: Al-Quds, Mar. 1, 2017
     "Director of the education department in the [PLO] Commission of Prisoners and Released Prisoners' Affairs Sayyaf Abu Saif yesterday [Feb. 29, 2016] announced the opening of registration for Al-Quds Open University, which will take place March 1 - 31, 2016. Abu Saif demanded that relatives of the prisoners in the Gilboa prison begin their children's registration, which will take place under the following conditions: A prisoner who is under arrest (i.e., who has not yet received a sentence) cannot register to this program, the prisoner must have a high school diploma recognized by the [PA] Ministry of Education and Higher Education in Ramallah, with an average of 85 or higher, a prisoner whose [prison] sentence is more than three years is allowed to register for the program, except for students for the Al-Quds Open University who can join regardless of the length of their [prison] sentence... The only specializations that can be registered for are social work, the Arab language, Islamic education, and social sciences."
Click to view bulletin

Prisoners in general and security prisoners in particular, are only allowed to conduct specific activities permitted to them by Israeli law and the rules of the Israeli Prison Service. In accordance with these, since 2011, security prisoners are no longer permitted to participate in degree courses. The PLO Commission of Prisoners' Affairs is funded by the Palestinian National Fund, which was declared a terror organization by Israel on March 16, 2017. PMW has notified the IPS that hundreds of Palestinian terrorist prisoners continue to study for academic degrees in spite of the ban.
Fatah official: Issue of payment of allowances to families of Martyrs of 2014 Gaza War to be raised 
Source: Ma’an, independent Palestinian news agency, Mar. 1, 2017
Headline: “Helles: The issue of the Martyrs’ families is on the table of the [Fatah] Central Committee”
     “Fatah Movement Central Committee member Ahmed Helles said today, Wednesday [March 1, 2017], that the issue of the families of the Martyrs (Shahids) of the 2014 [Gaza] War, is on the list of priorities of the committee during its upcoming meeting. These statements were made during a meeting that included Fatah Movement Central Committee member Ahmed Helles, Fatah Movement Revolutionary Council member Dr. Fayez Abu Aita, [PLO] Families of the Martyrs and Wounded Institution Director Abu Joudeh Al-Nahal, Secretary-General of the Institution Maher Badawi, and Secretary and Media Spokesman of the Institution Alaa Al-Birawi… Al-Birawi said in an interview with a reporter from [the independent Palestinian news agency] Ma’an that Helles took the names and promised to raise the issue during the [Fatah] Central Committee’s meeting in order to put an end to their suffering… He explained that 1,943 families of Martyrs are expecting the end of their suffering through the payment of the allowances to the Martyrs’ [families], and noted that the sit-in strike tent opposite the Families of the Martyrs [and Wounded] Institution building will remain until this issue ends completely.”
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US senators submit bill to cut off aid due to PA funding of terror 
Source: Palestine News Network (PNN, independent Palestinian news agency), Mar. 1, 2017
Headline: "A bill in the American Senate to stop the funding for the PA"
     "Three American senators from the Republican Party submitted a new bill that calls on the American administration to stop all forms of American financial aid to the PA.
The Republican senators justified the decision by claiming that the PA funds what they called 'terror.'
Previous attempts to legislate this met strong opposition and were tabled. However, the senators who are now submitting the current bill believe that this legislation will win broad support in addition to the support of [US] President [Donald] Trump.
Senator Lindsey Graham from the state of South Carolina, the main initiator of this legislation, said in an interview with the Hebrew newspaper Haaretz: 'The fact that the PA funds those carrying out armed attacks was already brought up for discussion during [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu’s meeting with Trump in the White House last month [February 2017]’ (for actual quote see note below –Ed.)."

American Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) was paraphrased by Haaretz as saying: “The legislation was brought up during the meeting last month between U.S. President Donald Trump and [Israeli] Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.”
Senators submit bill calling on US to stop financial aid to PA 
Source: Palestine News Network (PNN, independent Palestinian news agency), Mar. 1, 2017
Headline: "A bill in the American Senate to stop the funding for the PA"
     "Three American senators from the Republican Party submitted a new bill that calls on the American administration to stop all forms of American financial aid to the PA.
The Republican senators justified the decision by claiming that the PA funds what they called 'terror.'
Previous attempts to legislate this met strong opposition and were tabled. However, the senators who are now submitting the current bill believe that this legislation will win broad support in addition to the support of [US] President [Donald] Trump.
Senator Lindsey Graham from the state of South Carolina, the main initiator of this legislation, said in an interview with the Hebrew newspaper Haaretz: 'The fact that the PA funds those carrying out armed attacks was already brought up for discussion during [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu’s meeting with Trump in the White House last month [February 2017]’ (for actual quote see note below –Ed.)."

American Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) was paraphrased by Haaretz as saying: “The legislation was brought up during the meeting last month between U.S. President Donald Trump and [Israeli] Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.”
PA transfers $1.3 billion to Gaza per year, of which $82 million to families of Martyrs, prisoners and wounded 
Source: Official PA daily, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Feb. 28, 2017
     “[PA] President [Mahmoud Abbas’] Advisor on Strategic Affairs Dr. Husam Zomlot… emphasized that the PA is transferring approximately $1.3 billion a year to the Gaza Strip, most of which goes to covering the salaries that stand at approximately $840 million a year. This is in addition to $100 million for aid to socially poor families, and $82 million for the allowances (mukhassasat) of [the families of] the Martyrs (Shahids), of the prisoners, and of the wounded [in Gaza].”
PLO official admits US aid to PA goes toward paying terrorists 
Source: Ma’an, independent Palestinian news agency, Feb. 5, 2017
Headline: "The PA rejects the possibility that the American aid will be stopped"

"Palestinian [PLO] Ambassador to Washington Maen Erekat rejected the possibility that the American aid to the PA would be stopped during the term of the new American administration led by [US President] Donald Trump.
Erekat said to [the independent Palestinian news] agency Ma'an: 'Whatever the administration may be, the US believes that the aid it gives to the Palestinians is very important, and it is unlikely that the Trump administration will stop it since this aid serves to improve the Palestinian people’s living conditions and economy.'
However, Erekat discussed the possibility that this aid would be reduced or have additional conditions imposed on it, and predicted that the amount of the American aid to the PA for 2017 would be declared within a number of days.
Erekat said that the Trump administration has officially notified the PA that it wants to conduct a legal review of the $221 million that the Obama administration decided to transfer to the PA just hours before it left and passed the reins of government to Trump.
He added that the Trump administration wants to know if the transfer decision is consistent with the conditions and laws regarding the American aid to the Palestinians…
The amount of American aid to the PA during 2016 was approximately $380 million, but the [transfer of] $221 million of it was stopped following the opposition of two American congressmen to this aid.
The US has stopped the aid to the PA in the past because of the fact that the PA supports the Palestinian prisoners through this aid."
Reports: Obama administration transferred $221 million to the PA in its final hours  
Source: Wattan (independent Palestinian news agency)‎, Jan. 24, 2017
Headline: “In his final decisions, Obama gave the PA $221 million””

“Senior American officials revealed that the administration of previous [US] President Barack Obama secretly transferred to the PA a sum totaling $221 million in its final hours.
The AP [news] agency quoted sources in the American administration as saying that this was aid whose transfer to the Palestinians was prevented by the Republican party (i.e., by Republican members of Congress due to the PA’s unilateral moves to join international organizations, in violation of the 1993 Oslo Accords).
However, the Obama administration transferred the monies while bypassing the opposition of the Republicans, and informed Congress of the plans to transfer the sum last Friday morning [Jan. 20, 2017], a few hours before the beginning of [US President] Donald Trump’s inauguration ceremony. One of the senior officials said that previous American Secretary of State John Kerry informed several members of Congress about this step immediately after he left the American State Department on Thursday evening, but the written announcement on this matter only reached Congress on Friday morning…
The Congress originally agreed to send the aid to the Palestinians as part of the American State Department budget for the fiscal year of 2015/2016, but a number of the Republican members of Congress, including Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee [Ed Royce] and Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee (sic., House Appropriations Committee member Kay Granger ), succeeded in delaying the process of transferring the money, after the PA tried to obtain membership in a number of international organizations.”

PMW note: According to media reports, the transfer of the $221 million has been frozen and is under review by the Trump administration.
PLO official is committed to caring for "pure hearted Martyrs," notes that allowances have yet to be paid to families of those killed in 2014 Gaza war  
Source: Official PA daily, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Jan. 9, 2017
Headline: "Al-Wazir on Martyrs' Day: We renew the promise of loyalty to the Martyrs and injured"
     "Chairwoman of the [PLO] Families of the Martyrs (Shahids) and Wounded Institution Intisar Al-Wazir said for Palestinian Martyrs' Day… that all of the employees of the Families of the Martyrs and Wounded Institution, which was established in 1965, are fulfilling their obligation and making the maximum efforts in the framework of the existing capabilities to ensure the necessary care and services for the families of the Martyrs and wounded. This is because our pure-hearted Martyrs and our brave wounded, who sacrificed their lives and their blood for the homeland, are deserving of this care. She clarified that they are working to provide the necessary budget for payment [of allowances] to the families of the Martyrs of the last war on the Gaza Strip (i.e., 2014 Gaza War). She wished that it happen as soon as possible."
PA minister claims 550 million shekels have been paid to families of those killed in Gaza war, more would be paid if not for shortage in international aid 
Source: Official PA daily, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Jan. 8, 2017
Headline: “Marking Palestinian Martyrs Day in Gaza – Al-Agha: A national strategy is needed…”

“During the [Palestinian] Martyrs’ Day ceremony that was held by the National Committee of Martyrs’ (Shahids) Relatives and the [PLO] National Association of the Martyrs’ Families [of Palestine]… PLO Executive Committee member Zakariya Al-Agha gave a speech…
Al-Agha referred to the suffering of the Martyrs’ family members in everything related to the payment of their allowances (mukhassasat), and particularly the families of the Martyrs of 2014 (those killed in the 2014 Gaza War –Ed.) He noted that the time has come to put an end to this suffering, and called on [PA] President Mahmoud Abbas to make his decision, even though it is known that the financial situation of the PLO and PA is difficult. [Al-Agha added that] despite this, the Martyrs are a red line, and it is necessary to start finding appropriate solutions, when in the first stage, it is possible to pay an allowance of one Martyr to each family, while the transfer of the rest of the allowances will be completed if the financial situation of the PA improves…
[PA] Minister of Labor Ma’moun Abu Shahla gave a speech on behalf of [PA] Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah, in which he conveyed the blessings of the government to the families of the Martyrs…
He saluted all of the Martyrs of Palestine, and at their head Martyr Yasser Arafat, and noted that... 550 million (Israeli) shekels have been paid to the families of the Martyrs in Gaza out of 18 billion shekels [that were transferred] in the fields of health, education, welfare, electricity, water, sewage, and more. He said that if not for the scanty capabilities, the shortage in international aid, and the continuation of the rift (i.e., between Fatah and Hamas), the situation would be better.”
Despite austerity measures due to decreased foreign aid, PA payments in salaries projected to increase by 3.1% 
Source: Official PA daily, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Jan. 4, 2017
     “The [PA] government continued to discuss the general budget proposal of the State of Palestine for the 2017 financial year. According to the forecasts, the gross income will stand at 13.72 billion [Israeli] shekels (25.6% of the GDP) [parentheses in source], that is to say an increase of 6% compared to 2016…
The net total of expenses and loans is expected to reach 16.1 billion shekels in 2017, an increase of just 1% compared to 2016. The cost of salaries and wages is expected to reach 8.1 billion shekels (15.1% of the GDP) [parentheses in source], an increase of 3.1% compared to 2015 (sic., should be 2016)…
According to these figures, the joint deficit is expected to reach 2.76 billion shekels, a decrease of 18% compared to 2016. Together with the expected development projects, whose cost is 1.36 billion shekels, the total deficit is expected to reach 4.12 billion shekels, a decrease of 9% compared to 2016.
Regarding the foreign funding supporting the budget, it is not expected to exceed $500 million, and $92 million for funding development projects through the treasury’s coffers.
Regarding paying the debt balances, $300 million will be allocated for payment of the debt balances to the private sector. Therefore, as a result of the great decrease in the foreign funding for the budget, the funding gap will stand at $765 million, which will obligate the government to take austerity measures in all fields.”

Click "full article" for more.
PLO official: Decision to move US embassy to Jerusalem is an "attack on the peace process and pushing the region towards extremism and violence" 
Source: Official PA daily, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Dec. 29, 2016
Headline: “Erekat: 2016 was a Palestinian year par excellence, and we hope that the occupation will end next year”
     “PLO Executive Committee Secretary[-General] Saeb Erekat said: ‘The present year [2016] was a Palestinian year par excellence. We anticipate that the will of the Palestinian people and leadership will be realized, and that 2017 will be the year of the end of the occupation.’ …
He said that the election of Donald Trump as president of the US, his decision to appoint David Friedman as the US ambassador to Israel, and the decision to transfer the American embassy to Jerusalem all mean an attack on the peace process and pushing the region towards extremism and violence…
Advisor to [PA] President [Mahmoud Abbas] for Strategic Affairs Husam Zumlut said that 2016 was the year of preparation for the resolution, while 2017 will be the year of the political showdown against the Israeli occupation and the year of the end of the rift (i.e., between Fatah and Hamas).”
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