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Fatah: Paying terrorists promotes peace
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Fatah: Paying terrorists promotes peace

Fatah: "If we do not do this [pay salaries to prisoners], what will be their fate? They are liable to turn to ISIS... [We] say to the donor states [whose money goes to terrorists] that your donations help the PA bring peace to the Middle East."

"There is a drop in support and funding [of 70%] from all [countries]... [Donor countries are told]: Why are you providing aid to those [the PA] who are paying the prisoners and the Martyrs' (Shahids') families?"

by Itamar Marcus
 
As PA leader Mahmoud Abbas prepares to meet US President Trump today, many are hoping that Trump will condition US aid to the Palestinian Authority on the cessation of the PA payments to terrorists and their families.
 
Clearly concerned about this, PA leaders have published many statements this month defending their practice of financially rewarding terror. In a strange twist of logic, Fatah is now arguing that donor countries should welcome the PA's paying salaries to terrorists with their money, since this practice promotes peace by keeping the Palestinian terrorists from joining "ISIS or any other extremist party... [We] say to the donor states [whose money goes to terrorists] that your donations help the PA bring peace to the Middle East."

In a recent statement, senior Fatah leader Rawhi Fattouh complained that the PA has lost significant income from donor countries because of international anger over the PA payments to terrorists. Palestinian Media Watch first exposed this issue in 2011, triggering calls in many donor countries to cut funding to the PA. PMW's April 2016 report entitled The PA's Billion Dollar Fraud sparked even greater international outrage, and by now the PA has lost hundreds of millions of dollars of donor funding:
 
"There is a drop in support and funding from all [countries]... the pressures exerted on the decision makers in these countries by supporters of Israel and [Israeli] lobbies with various names. For example, they tell them: Why are you providing aid to those who are paying the prisoners and the Martyrs' (Shahids') families?"
[Rawhi Fattouh, Fatah Central Committee member
and Fatah Commissioner of International Relations;
 Falestinona, the website of Fatah's Information and Culture Commission in Lebanon, April 5, 2017]
 
The PA Minister of Finance similarly announced that since 2011 (the year that PMW first exposed the PA's practice of paying salaries to terrorists), foreign aid has dropped 70%:
 
"PA Minister of Finance Shukri Bishara announced that the foreign aid to the PA coffers has decreased by about 70% in the last five years."
[Official PA daily, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Dec. 8, 2016]
 
Now, Fatah Central Committee member and Fatah Commissioner of International Relations Rawhi Fattouh has written a long detailed PA defense of salaries to terrorists, with arguments based on lies.
 
Lie # 1: The prisoners who receive salaries are innocent civilians who were "living securely in their homes"

Rawhi Fattouh: "Most of the prisoners that Israel arrests are taken while living securely in their homes; in other words, they did not carry out any military activity or self-sacrificing activity (i.e., terror attack)."
 
This of course is a total lie by the Fatah leader. The overwhelming majority of security prisoners receiving PA monthly salaries were arrested, tried and convicted for direct involvement in terror activities or planning terror activities. For example, Abdullah Barghouti, who built the bombs for suicide bombers that murdered 67 Israelis, is in an Israeli prison and has already received hundreds of thousands of dollars in salary payments.
 
Lie # 2: The "Martyrs" whose families receive monthly PA allowances were likewise civilians 

Rawhi Fattouh: "The PA cannot shake off the Palestinian civilians. The wars that Israel waged against the Gaza Strip in 2008, 2012, and 2014 left many victims among the families of the civilians, and they were not fighters or military personnel. They were living securely in their homes when they fell victim to Israel's crimes, and they left families behind. Are we allowed to shake off these families?"
 
This is likewise lie by the Fatah leader, with a small grain of truth. Whereas the PA pays monthly allowances to a relatively small number of families of civilians who were killed when Israel fought terrorists, the overwhelming majority of the 35,000 families of "Martyrs" are families of terrorists including the families of murderers.
 
Furthermore, the families of civilians who died in the Gaza war in 2014 have not received payments from the Palestinian Authority. According to all PA sources, the PA has not yet given payments to any of the families of "Martyrs" from the 2014 war, despite their protests, although the PA has stated its intention to begin these payments at an unknown future date.
 
"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... 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 Institution building will remain until this issue ends completely."
[Ma'an, independent Palestinian news agency, Mar. 1, 2017]
 
Lie #3: Donor money going to terrorists promotes peace
 
As cited above, the Fatah leader's final argument was that by financially rewarding terrorists, the donor countries are actually promoting peace because they are preventing Palestinian terrorists from becoming ISIS terrorists:

Rawhi Fattouh: "If we do not do this [pay salaries to prisoners], what will be their fate? They are liable to turn to ISIS or any other extremist party... Therefore, we reject the statements of those who request that we act differently, and say to the donor states that your donations help the PA bring peace to the Middle East, and if you shake off this role you must bear the consequences."

The claim that prisoners receive in total $150 million in salaries is in order to keep them moderate is laughable. Terrorist prisoners receive this money in "appreciation" for their actions, and this has been stated numerous times by PA leaders. One example:

 Issa Karake, then PA Minister of Prisoners' Affairs Issa Karake: 
"The Europeans want their money that comes to us to remain clean -- not to go to families of those they claim to be terrorists. [They] need to renounce this occupation mentality. These [prisoners] are heroes, fedayyeen (self-sacrificing fighters), and fighters who fought so that we could live in dignity... These heroes, whom you are applauding, must live in dignity, so that we will continue to hold our heads high. We appreciate the people of the revolution and are proud of them."
[Official Palestine Live TV, Nov. 4, 2013]
 
The PA's latest lies to support its practice of rewarding terror make a mockery of international donors. It is time to hold the PA fully accountable.
 
The following is a longer excerpt of Fatah Central Committee member and Fatah Commissioner of International Relations Rawhi Fattouh's defense of PA salaries to terrorists and their families:
 
“[Fatah Central Committee member and Fatah Commissioner of International Relations Rawhi Fattouh said:] There is a drop in support and funding from all [countries], even in the Arab arena, and this withdrawal stems from a number of factors. The first is the freezing of the peace process due to the Israeli steps, and particularly the expansion of the settlements. This is in addition to the pressures exerted on the decision makers in these countries by supporters of Israel and [Israeli] lobbies with various names. For example, they tell them: Why are you providing aid to those who are paying the prisoners and the Martyrs’ (Shahids’) families? In other words, the PLO and the PA - even though this is a natural thing, as the PA cannot shake off the Palestinian civilians. The wars that Israel waged against the Gaza Strip in 2008, 2012, and 2014 left many victims among the families of the civilians, and they were not fighters or military personnel. They were living securely in their homes when they fell victim to Israel’s crimes, and they left families behind. Are we allowed to shake off these families? The international community held a conference at Sharm el-Sheikh on rebuilding the Gaza Strip, which was destroyed by Israel. Just as you restore a house that was destroyed, you also need to pay the family of the Martyr who was killed unjustly by the Israeli Air Force. Likewise, most of the prisoners that Israel arrests are taken while living securely in their homes; in other words, they did not carry out any military activity or self-sacrificing activity (i.e., terror attack). The number of Palestinians in the Israeli prisons is over 7,000, and we provide material aid to their families because that is our obligation, and if we do not do this, what will be their fate? They are liable to turn to ISIS or any other extremist party. This emphasizes the significance of the inclusion we are providing, not only in the framework of the PA but also in the framework of the Fatah Movement and the PLO since their establishment. Therefore, we reject the statements of those who request that we act differently, and say to the donor states that your donations help the PA bring peace to the Middle East, and if you shake off this role you must bear the consequences.”
[Falestinona, the website of Fatah's Information and Culture Commission in Lebanon, April 5, 2017]