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PA: Palestinians have a “right” to kill Israelis, PA will continue to pay the prisoners’ salaries
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PA: Palestinians have a “right” to kill Israelis,
PA will continue to pay the prisoners’ salaries
 
PA responds to Israeli law against the PA’s terrorist salaries
 
 
 
Palestinians have a "right" to kill Israelis
  • PLO Commission of Prisoners' Affairs Spokesman Hassan Abd Rabbo:
"The [Israeli] legislation... targets the history of our people's struggle and its right to resist the occupation"
  • PLO Commission of Prisoners' Affairs:
"The Martyrs and prisoners are the symbol of the struggle, freedom fighters, and fighters of independence, and not murderers and terrorists as the occupation defines them"
  • PLO Commission of Prisoners' Affairs Director Issa Karake:
"[Israel] wants to define the Palestinian people's entire struggle as a "crime" and those who have resisted the occupation as 'criminals.' This is the resistance of our Palestinian people, which is guaranteed by the international and humanitarian laws" 
  • PLO Commission of Prisoners' Affairs:
"The PA [will] not submit to racist laws like these, whose goal is to prevent the Palestinian people's legitimate resistance"
  • PLO Commission of Prisoners' Affairs Director Issa Karake:
"The president [Abbas is] signing on the status of the prisoners as legitimate prisoners of war"
  • Columnist in the official PA daily:
"The salaries of the prisoners of freedom are a right that is guaranteed to them, and colonialist Israel, the US, and anyone else cannot under any circumstances be allowed to harm this right, which is guaranteed to them as freedom fighters according to the Palestinian national criteria and laws and international [criteria]..."

On terrorist prisoners
  • PA government: They are "our national symbols and the symbols of the defense of freedom and dignity"
Israel's law is "theft"
  • PLO Commission of Prisoners' Affairs Director Issa Karake: "This is clear theft and piracy in broad daylight"
  • Official PA TV host: "Israel is looting the Palestinian people's money"
PA will continue paying terrorists and their families
  • Abbas vows: "We will continue to pay them"
  • PA Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah: 
"We emphasize today on behalf of His Honor President Mahmoud Abbas that we will never abandon our responsibility to the prisoners and the relatives of the Martyrs and the wounded, and we will continue to pay their salaries and what they deserve"

PA warnings
  • PA official: "If the government of Israel implements this decision, this will have political, security, and financial consequences... All of the options will be open"
  • PA Presidential Office spokesman: The Israeli law is "a sort of declaration of war against the Palestinian people, its fighters, its prisoners, and also its Martyrs
by Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik
 
One of the most alarming responses by the Palestinian Authority to recent Israeli legislation is its emphatic insistence that Palestinians have a “right” to kill Israelis.
 
Israeli Parliament recently passed a law to deduct the amount of money the PA pays imprisoned terrorists and families of so-called "Martyrs" from the tax money Israel collects for the PA. If the PA stops these payments for a full year, the Israeli government may give all or part of the money to the PA.
 
After the law was passed, PA leaders immediately rushed to announce that the PA is not going to stop paying these salaries for the simple reason that the people Israel calls terrorists who are in Israeli jails for murder did nothing wrong. Palestinians, PA leaders argue, have a “right” to kill Israelis, and so the prisoners are “freedom fighters,” and recognized “Prisoners of War.”
 
Were the PA to stop the payments, as Israel, the US, Australia, and many European countries have demanded, that would be admitting that Palestinians don't have a right to kill Israelis, and would be tantamount to defining the prisoners as "terrorists" and "criminals."
 
Therefore, PA leaders vow they will never stop these payments.
 
In addition to claiming that the Palestinian prisoners carried out “legitimate resistance,” the PA has responded to the Israeli law by saying that the Israeli deductions are “theft,” and have warned Israel that there will be repercussions.
 
The following are a collection of these declarations from senior Palestinian officials:
 
The spokesman of the PLO Commission of Prisoners’ Affairs argued that the Palestinian prisoners had a “right to resist the occupation” - i.e., a right to murder Israelis:

 
   
   

PLO Commission of Prisoners’ Affairs Spokesman Hassan Abd Rabbo: “The legislation that passed the Israeli Parliament is racist legislation and is tantamount to organized state terror, which targets the Palestinian people’s values of struggle and morals... but also targets the history of our people’s struggle and its right to resist the occupation... The [Israeli] law defines the [Palestinian] national struggle as a crime, considers it terror, and considers the Palestinian people’s fighters and its Martyrs terrorists, criminals, and murderers... The issue of paying allowances to the families of the Martyrs, prisoners, and wounded is a sacred national obligation of the Palestinian people and the Palestinian leadership.”
[Official PA TV News, July 3, 2018]
 
PA Chairman Abbas vowed again: “We will continue to pay them”: 

   
   

Official PA TV newsreader: “[PA] President Mahmoud Abbas confirmed the continued payment of the allowances of the prisoners and the Martyrs’ families...”
PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas: “The decisions made by the Israeli government recently, made by the Israeli Parliament, regarding... the money that Israel opposes paying to the Martyrs and wounded, we will not allow anyone to interfere with this. These are our Martyrs, these are our wounded, and our prisoners, we will continue to pay them. And we began this in 1965.”
[Official PA TV News, July 8, 2018]
 
Director of the PLO Commission of Prisoners’ Affairs Issa Karake argued that the terrorist prisoners are entitled to payment because they are “prisoners of war”:
 
“There is a need to continue the support of the families of the prisoners and Martyrs. Palestine will submit a complaint against the Israeli government to the International Criminal Court regarding its confiscation of the money. The leadership emphasized this by the president [Abbas] signing on the status of the prisoners as legitimate prisoners of war.
We will act to obtain a legal opinion regarding the legal status of the prisoners in order to thwart Israel’s attempts to remove the status of ‘legitimacy’ from the prisoners.”
[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, July 10, 2018]
 
Significantly, former PA Minister of Prisoners’ Affairs Ashraf Al-Ajrami contradicted this claim earlier this year when he admitted in court that fewer than 5 Palestinian prisoners qualify as POWs, as documented by Palestinian Media Watch.
 
PA Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah repeated Abbas’ assurances the salaries will continue unaffacted:
 
“We emphasize today on behalf of His Honor President Mahmoud Abbas that we will never abandon our responsibility to the prisoners and the relatives of the Martyrs and the wounded, and we will continue to pay their salaries and what they deserve, and this is the minimal obligation and loyalty to their sacrifice for the homeland’s freedom and honor.
[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, July 6, 2018]
 
 
PLO Executive Committee member Wasel Abu Yusuf, Director of the PLO Commission of Prisoners’ Affairs Issa Karake, Chairman of the Palestinian Prisoners’ Club Qadura Fares
PLO Executive Committee member and Secretary-General of the Palestinian Liberation Front Wasel Abu Yusuf “emphasized that they will continue to pay the allowances of the prisoners, the Martyrs’ families, and the wounded as usual.” Abu Yusuf also reiterated 

Abbas’ statement quoted above:

“No one has the right to interfere in this matter; these are our Martyrs, our wounded, and our prisoners, and we will continue to pay them.”
 
[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, July 10, 2018]

Before Israel passed the law, Karake argued that Israel is wrongly defining “the Palestinian people’s entire struggle as a ’crime’ and those who have resisted the occupation as ‘criminals’”:
 
Karake: “This is clear theft and piracy in broad daylight... Israel strives not only to hold the money on the pretext of [PA] support for the families of the prisoners and the Martyrs - it wants to define the Palestinian people’s entire struggle as a “crime” and those who have resisted the occupation as “criminals.” This is the resistance of our Palestinian people, which is guaranteed by the international and humanitarian laws... We will continue despite the pressures, threats, and blackmail. We will continue to take care of and help the families of our prisoners and our Martyrs, we won't abandon them.”
[Official PA TV News, June 27, 2018]
 
Karake’s claim that “the resistance of our Palestinian people... is guaranteed by the international and humanitarian laws” exemplifies a claim the PA has made for years, as documented by PMW. PA leaders and officials have legitimized Palestinian violence by quoting UN resolution 3236 which "recognizes the right of the Palestinian people to regain its rights by all means." The PA interprets "all means" as including violence against civilians, but has chosen to ignore the continuation of the resolution which states that the use of "all means" should be "in accordance with the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations..." The UN Charter prohibits targeting civilians, even in war. Chapter 1, Article 1, opens by saying that "international disputes" should be resolved "by peaceful means."
 
Therefore, when Chairman of the General Authority for Civil Affairs in the PA and Fatah Movement Central Committee member Minister Hussein Al-Sheikh threatened that if Israel implements the law, the PA leadership will respond, and “all options will be open,” this is to be understood as an implied threat of violence and terror:
 
“Hussein Al-Sheikh said... that ‘if the government of Israel implements this decision, this will have political, security, and financial consequences, and our people’s leadership will implement a series of decisions and steps in response to this. All of the options will be open in order to deal with this decision.”
[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, July 5, 2018]
 
The official spokesman for the PA’s presidential office, Nabil Abu Rudeina, stated that the Israeli law is “a sort of declaration of war against the Palestinian people, its fighters, its prisoners, and also its Martyrs.” AbuRudeina added a threat against Israel, that if the decision is carried out, it “will have dangerous consequences, and all of the Palestinian options will be open on all levels - from the International Criminal Court to the UN Security Council.” [WAFA, official PA news agency, July 3, 2018] He further added that “the Palestinian leadership will consider making critical and historic decisions that will change the character of the existing relations, as this Israeli step is considered an attack against the Palestinian people’s history and its struggle for freedom and independence.”
 
Similarly, the PLO Commission for Prisoners has argued that the terrorist prisoners are “freedom fighters” engaged in “legitimate resistance,” and that Israel's law “legitimizes the robbery and theft” of their “rights”:
 
“The [PA] Ministry of Prisoners’ Affairs (sic., PLO Commission of Prisoners’ Affairs) condemned the approval of the law... It said that this law legitimizes the robbery and theft of the prisoners and Martyrs’ rights.
The ministry (sic.) demanded that the PA not submit to racist laws like these, whose goal is to prevent the Palestinian people’s legitimate resistance...
Adopting the family members of the prisoners and Martyrs and taking care of their life needs is a national and moral obligation resting on the shoulders of the people and the leadership.
The ministry (sic.,) added that it is impossible to abandon this obligation regardless of the price, and that the Martyrs and prisoners are the symbol of the struggle, freedom fighters, and fighters of independence, and not murderers and terrorists as the occupation defines them.
[Ma’an, independent Palestinian news agency, June 27, 2018]
 
A columnist in the official PA daily likewise emphasized the status of the terrorist prisoners as “freedom fighters,” and their “right” to salaries as “guaranteed according to the Palestinian and international criteria and laws”:
 
"The salaries of the prisoners of freedom are a right that is guaranteed to them, and colonialist Israel, the US, and anyone else cannot under any circumstances be allowed to harm this right, which is guaranteed to them as freedom fighters according to the Palestinian national criteria and laws and international [criteria] ...
The prisoners' cause is the cause of every Palestinian family, and it is necessarily a general cause of the [Palestinian] people and of its political leadership. None of their financial, social, or political rights can be relinquished. Their salaries are an obligation upon the people and the leadership."
[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, July 2, 2018]
 
The PA government also “condemned” the Israeli law and reiterated that the terrorists in prison are “our national symbols and the symbols of the defense of freedom and dignity”:
 
“The [PA] government... emphasized that deducting the money from these revenues and legitimizing it are nothing but Israeli robbery, theft of Palestinian money, the open legitimization of the theft of our people’s money, and harms our national symbols and the symbols of the defense of freedom and dignity...
The government emphasized that the Palestinian leadership, headed by [PA] President Mahmoud Abbas, will not abandon the prisoners and the families of the Martyrs, who have paid with their years and their lives for their homeland.
[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, July 4, 2018]
 
Before the law passed, official PA Government Spokesman Yusuf Al-Mahmoud used almost the exact same words, vowing that the PA will never “abandon” the prisoners because they sacrificed for the Palestinian people and “all of humanity”:
 
“Official [PA] Government Spokesman Yusuf Al-Mahmoud said that this ‘law’ openly and blatantly gives legitimacy to the theft of the Palestinian people’s money, and targets our national symbols and the symbols of the defense of freedom and honor... He added that the government will not abandon the prisoners and the Martyrs’ families, who have paid with their years and lives for the people, homeland, and all of humanity, because they struggled against the Israeli occupation that constitutes part of the injustice that harms people everywhere in the world.”
[WAFA, official PA news agency, June 27, 2018]
 
PLO Executive Committee member Hanan Ashrawi claimed Israel's law to deduct the terrorist salaries from the PA tax money is “a violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention and the international conventions, as whoever holds prisoners is obligated to protect their lives and sustenance.” [Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, July 6, 2018] Similarly, PLO Chief Negotiator Saeb Erekat maintained that Israel’s law “contradicts article 81 of the Fourth Geneva Convention which determines that the states holding prisoners must bear responsibility for them, provide them with medical treatment, not omit anything from their expenses, and provide for their families.” [Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, July 6, 2018]
 
However, both are incorrect, as the Fourth Geneva Convention relates to civilians in wartime, not terrorists imprisoned for attacking and murdering civilians. Article 81 applies only to “internees,” and not to terrorists who are standing trial, convicted, or released from prison, and likewise not to the families of dead terrorists. The only “internees” held by Israel are Palestinian terrorists held in administrative detention in accordance with Article 78 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, and Israel fulfills all its obligations vis-a-vis these “internees.”
 
In another statement, Erekat emphasized the intention of the PA leadership to continue the salaries:
“Erekat explicitly stated that the leadership will continue to pay the salaries of the prisoners, the Martyrs’ families, and the wounded, despite the occupation authorities’ decision to deduct their allowances from the [Palestinian] National Authority’s tax revenues. Erekat sees this as a national obligation and legal and moral commitment that is consistent with the international agreements and treaties regarding prisoners, which Israel is violating with this decision.”
[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, July 5, 2018]
 
Law to deduct terrorist salaries from PA tax money - Israeli law to deduct and freeze the amount of money the PA pays in salaries to imprisoned terrorists and families of "Martyrs" from the tax money Israel collects for the PA. Should the PA stop these payments for a full year, the Israeli government would have the option of giving all or part of the frozen money to the PA. The law was enacted on July 2, 2018.
During the parliamentary vote, the law's sponsor Avi Dichter said: “The Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee received much help in its deliberations... from Palestinian Media Watch who provided us with authentic data that enabled productive and professional deliberations, nuances that are very difficult to achieve without precise data.” [Israeli Parliament website, July 2, 2018]
 
The following are longer excerpts of the statements quoted above and additional statements from PA and Fatah officials:
 
Headline: “Hamdallah: We will not agree to changing our national rights to humanitarian or financial [rights]”
“During a speech that he gave yesterday [July 5, 2018] on behalf of His Honor [PA] President Mahmoud Abbas at the 60th annual conference of the Children of Ramallah Association at the Ramallah culture hall... [PA Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah said:] ‘The Israeli Parliament has passed [a law] to deduct the allowances (mukhassasat) of the Martyrs (Shahids) and prisoners from the Palestinian tax money as part of a new act of robbery of our people’s money and resources (refers to law deducting terror salaries from tax money collected for the PA; see note below -Ed.). We emphasize today on behalf of His Honor President Mahmoud Abbas that we will never abandon our responsibility to the prisoners and the relatives of the Martyrs and the wounded, and we will continue to pay their salaries (rawatib) and what they deserve, and this is the minimal obligation and loyalty to their sacrifice for the homeland’s freedom and honor.’
[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, July 6, 2018]
 
Headline: “[Palestinian] spokesmen: It is necessary to oppose the ‘law’ to deduct the prisoners’ allowances from the tax money”
“At a press conference dealing with the occupation’s decision to deduct the prisoners’ allowances (mukhassasat) from the tax money (see note below -Ed.) and the administrative prisoners’ strike, a number of [Palestinian] spokesmen emphasized the need to oppose the Israeli ‘law’ that violates all of the international agreements, and the need to support the administrative prisoners who are hunger striking.
PLO Executive Committee member [and Secretary-General of the Palestinian Liberation Front] Wasel Abu Yusuf said at the press conference that was held yesterday [July 8, 2018] in Ramallah at the initiative of the [PLO] Commission of Prisoners and Released Prisoners’ Affairs, the [PA-funded] Prisoners’ Club, and the factions of national activity: ‘The leadership, led by [PA] President of the State of Palestine Mahmoud Abbas, has emphasized its rejection of decisions that the Israeli government has made recently, and of the bills that the Israeli Parliament ratified regarding the deduction of amounts from our people’s money against what is paid to the families of the Martyrs (Shahids) and the prisoners.’
Abu Yusuf emphasized that they will continue to pay the allowances of the prisoners, the Martyrs’ families, and the wounded as usual, while pointing out the president’s statements at the Fatah Movement Central Council meeting yesterday (Sunday): ‘No one has the right to interfere in this matter; these are our Martyrs, our wounded, and our prisoners, and we will continue to pay them.’
Director of [PLO] Commission of Prisoners and Released Prisoners’ Affairs Issa Karake said that: ‘The Israeli law regarding the deduction of the prisoners’ allowances from the tax money violates The International Convention on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), the Palestinian constitution, and the signed agreements, and therefore the confiscation of the money is a violation of the law.’
Karake said: ‘The arbitrary laws must be rejected, and there is a need to continue the support of the families of the prisoners and Martyrs. Palestine will submit a complaint against the Israeli government to the International Criminal Court regarding its confiscation of the money.’ He explained that ‘The leadership emphasized this by the president signing on the status of the prisoners as legitimate prisoners of war.’
He added: ‘We will act to obtain a legal opinion regarding the legal status of the prisoners in order to thwart Israel’s attempts to remove the status of “legitimacy” from the prisoners.’ ...
Karake asked the UN to declare Israel a state that violates the law and an apartheid state, [and said] that the international parliaments must boycott the Israeli Parliament and its members in order to express their opposition to the decision (by Israel to deduct money for terrorist salaries from the PA tax money -Ed.) And this is in view of the fact that the Israeli Parliament has legislated 150 laws since 2015...
Chairman of the Prisoners’ Club Qadura Fares said: ‘We must continue to pay the amounts to the prisoners, and the families of the Martyrs and the wounded, and to act in the public arena and with the help of all the parties of power in order to bring down this law.’”
[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, July 10, 2018]

PLO Commission of Prisoners’ Affairs Spokesman Hassan Abd Rabbo: “This legislation that was passed in the Israeli Parliament is racist legislation and is tantamount to organized state terror, which harms the Palestinian peoples’ values of struggle and morals, and attempts not only to steal the Palestinian people’s money...but also to target the history of our people’s struggle and its right to resist the occupation... What is demanded [by the Israelis is] that the law define the [Palestinian] national struggle as a crime and consider it terror, and that it consider the Palestinian people’s fighters and its Martyrs (Shahids) as terrorists, criminals, and murderers. This is what we absolutely oppose. The issue of paying allowances (mukhassasat) to the families of the Martyrs, prisoners, and wounded is a sacred national obligation of the Palestinian people and the Palestinian leadership.
[Official PA TV News, July 3, 2018]
 
Headline: “The [PA] government: The Palestinian cause was and is the key to international security and peace”
“The [PA] government condemned the ratification of ‘the law to deduct [the amount of] the prisoners and Martyrs’ (Shahids) allowances (mukhassasat) from the Palestinian tax money’ (refers to Israeli law deducting terror salaries from PA tax money; see note below -Ed.). It emphasized that deducting the money from these revenues and legitimizing it are nothing but Israeli robbery, theft of Palestinian money, the open legitimization of the theft of our people’s money, and harms our national symbols and the symbols of the defense of freedom and dignity...
The government emphasized that the Palestinian leadership, headed by [PA] President Mahmoud Abbas, will not abandon the prisoners and the families of the Martyrs, who have paid with their years and their lives for their homeland.
[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, July 4, 2018]
 
Headline: “Al-Sheikh: The options are open for dealing with the ‘cutting’ of the prisoners and Martyrs’ allowances (
 
mukhassasat)”
“Chairman of the General Authority for Civil Affairs [in the PA] and Fatah Movement Central Committee member Minister Hussein Al-Sheikh said that ‘The Israeli Parliament’s ratification of a law cutting that which is paid to the families of the prisoners and Martyrs (Shahids) from the Palestinian taxes is robbery and theft of our people’s money’ (refers to a law to deduct terror salaries from taxes collected for the PA; see note below -Ed.).
Minister Al-Sheikh said in a press release yesterday [July 4, 2018] that ‘If the government of Israel implements this decision, this will have political, security, and financial consequences, and our people’s leadership will implement a series of decisions and steps in response to this. All of the options will be open in order to deal with this decision, which deviates from all of the signed agreements and protocols.’
Al-Sheikh emphasized that ‘The occupation authorities have no right to judge our people’s past and present and its national struggle for freedom and independence.’ He added: ‘There is contact with different concerned parties regionally and internationally, and this is in order to explain the danger involved in this type of decision and its consequences.’”
[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, July 5, 2018]
 
Headline: “Wall to wall condemnations of the approval of deduction of the Martyrs and prisoners’ allowances”
“Chairman of the Palestinian [PA-funded] Prisoners’ Club Qadura Fares... explained that Israel’s attempts to steal the Palestinian people’s money (referring to Israeli law deducting terror salaries from tax money collected for the PA; see note below -Ed.)... are part of the actions to apply pressure in order to connect the Palestinian struggle to terror...
Fares noted that the prisoners oppose all of the Israeli efforts to revoke their political status and their status as fighters, to revoke their legitimate right as resistance members and prisoners of war, and to label them as ‘terrorists’ and ‘criminals.’
Fares calmed the families of the Martyrs (Shahids), the prisoners, and the wounded that no one will harm their rights, as there is a consensus over them among the members of the Palestinian people. He emphasized that the implementation of this racist and discriminatory law will have grave consequences that will lead to an explosion in the face of the occupation.
[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, July 4, 2018]
 
Official PA TV newsreader: “The [PA] presidential office condemned the Israeli Parliament’s decision to pass a law deducting the allowances (mukhassasat) of the Martyrs (Shahids) and prisoners from the Palestinian tax money (see note below -Ed.), and emphasized that this is tantamount to a declaration of war against our people, its fighters, its prisoners, and its Martyrs. [PA] Presidential Office Spokesman [and Fatah Central Committee member] Nabil Abu Rudeina said that the presidential office is expressing its firm opposition to this dangerous decision, and considers it a blow to the foundations of the connection [between Israel and the PA] from the Oslo Agreements until now. Abu Rudeina added that if the decision is implemented, then all of the Palestinian options are open at all levels, beginning with the International Criminal Court and ending with the international [UN] Security Council...
The [Palestinian] National Council (i.e., the legislative body of the PLO) emphasized that the payment of the allowances to the families of the prisoners, Martyrs, and wounded is a legal commitment and a national obligation towards all the members of our people in order to provide them with defense and to take care of them in a dignified manner. This arrived in a parliamentary memorandum sent by [Palestinian National Council] Chairman Salim Al-Za’anoun to the various international and regional parliamentary associations and the relevant institutions, in which he explained the dangers of the law that the Israeli Parliament passed to loot the money allocated to the families of the prisoners and the Martyrs, while considering this decision to be contradictory to international and humanitarian laws, piracy, and organized state terror implemented by the government of Israel against our people and our leadership, which refuse to accept what is called the ‘deal of the century’ (refers to US President Donald Trump’s as yet unpublished Middle East peace plan -Ed.).”
...
Official PA Government Spokesman Yusuf Al-Mahmoud: “The [PA] government emphasized its refusal of any financial proposal or process to resolve the Palestinian problem at the expense of our national principles...”
Official PA TV reporter: “The government also condemned the Israeli Parliament’s passing of what is called ‘the law deducting the allowances of the prisoners and Martyrs from the tax money.’ It emphasized that the leadership will not abandon the prisoners and the families of the Martyrs, who sacrificed their souls and lives for their homeland.
[Official PA TV News, July 3, 2018]
 
Excerpt of an op-ed by Omar Hilmi Al-Ghoul, regular columnist for the official PA daily

Headline: "The Prisoners' salaries are our obligation"
"The salaries (rawatib) of the prisoners of freedom are a right that is guaranteed to them, and colonialist Israel, the US, and anyone else cannot under any circumstances be allowed to harm this right, which is guaranteed to them as freedom fighters according to the Palestinian national criteria and laws and international [ones] ...
The prisoners' cause is the cause of every Palestinian family, and it is necessarily a general cause of the [Palestinian] people and of its political leadership. None of their financial, social, or political rights can be relinquished. Their salaries are an obligation upon the people and the leadership."
[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, July 2, 2018]
 
Official PA TV host: Israel is looting the Palestinian people’s money, this time through laws that it legislated today...”
Director of PLO Commission of Prisoners’ Affairs Issa Karake: “This is clear theft and piracy in broad daylight... Israel strives not only to hold the money on the pretext of [PA] support for the families of the prisoners and the Martyrs - it wants to define the Palestinian people’s entire struggle as a “crime” and those who have resisted the occupation as “criminals.” This is the resistance of our Palestinian people, which is guaranteed by the international and humanitarian laws... This decision is illegal and is rejected by the Palestinian leadership and the Palestinian [PA] government. We won't relinquish our moral, national, humane, and social responsibility towards these same victims of the Israeli occupation, who resisted this occupation.
We will continue despite the pressures, threats, and blackmail. We won't submit to these pressures. We will continue to take care of and help the families of our prisoners and our Martyrs, we won't abandon them.”
[Official PA TV News, June 27, 2018]
 
Headline: “The [PA] Ministry of Prisoners (sic., PLO Commission of Prisoners’ Affairs) condemns the approval of the bill to deduct the prisoners’ allowances”
“The [PA] Ministry of Prisoners’ Affairs (sic., PLO Commission of Prisoners’ Affairs) condemned the approval of the law to deduct the allowances of the prisoners and the Martyrs’ (Shahids’) [families] from the PA tax money in a second and third reading in the Israeli Parliament (sic., the bill was approved by the Israeli Parliament Committee on Security and Foreign Affairs on June 27, 2018, prior to a general vote in the Israeli Parliament; see note below). It said that this law legitimizes the robbery and theft of the prisoners and Martyrs’ rights.
The ministry (sic.) demanded that the PA not submit to racist laws like these, whose goal is to prevent the Palestinian people’s legitimate resistance and its resolve before the occupation’s ongoing conceit and arrogance towards the prisoners, the Martyrs, and their families...
The ministry (sic.) explained that adopting the family members of the prisoners and Martyrs and taking care of their life needs is a national and moral obligation resting on the shoulders of the people and the leadership.
The ministry (sic.) added that it is impossible to abandon this obligation regardless of the price, and that the Martyrs and prisoners are the symbol of the struggle, freedom fighters, and fighters of independence, and not murderers and terrorists as the occupation defines them.
[Ma’an, independent Palestinian news agency, June 27, 2018]
 
“PLO Executive Committee member Hanan Ashrawi said: ‘The law to deduct the allowances (mukhassasat) of the prisoners and wounded from the tax money, which was passed by the Israeli Parliament (refers to law deducting terror salaries from taxes collected for the PA; see note below -Ed.), is a violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention and the international conventions, as whoever holds prisoners is obligated to protect their lives and sustenance (the Fourth Geneva Convention relates to civilians in wartime, not terrorists imprisoned for criminal acts -Ed.). This law also contradicts the Paris Agreement, which Israel has violated and which gave it authority to hold direct contact with the world (sic., Israel has always had such authority; the Paris Agreement established economic relations between Israel and the PLO), and it abused this in order to turn us into consumers of Israeli goods.’ ...
PLO Executive Committee Secretary, [Fatah Central Committee member, and PLO Chief Negotiator]
Saeb Erekat said at a press conference held two days ago [July 4, 2018] that
the leadership will continue to pay the salaries (rawatib) of the prisoners, the families of the Martyrs (Shahids), and the wounded, despite the occupation authorities’ decision to deduct their allowances from the PA’s tax money. He added that the Israeli decision means that the government of [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu thinks that the PA no longer exists, and he emphasized that
the leadership is meant to serve our people and will not allow any party to blackmail it, particularly not through its money.
He also noted that the deduction of the allowances of the prisoners, Martyrs, and wounded contradicts article 81 of the Fourth Geneva Convention which determines that the states holding prisoners must bear responsibility for them, provide them with medical treatment, not omit anything from their expenses, and provide for their families
(sic., article 81 refers to the rights of protected persons and internees, not those imprisoned for criminal acts -Ed.).”
[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, July 6, 2018]
 
Paris Agreement - agreement on economic relations between Israel and the PLO, signed in Paris on April 29, 1994. Its main goal is to promote peace by establishing economic relations modeled on EU economic relations.
 
Headline: “The allowances of the Martyrs and the prisoners”
“[Secretary of the PLO Executive Committee, Fatah Central Committee member, and PLO Chief Negotiator Saeb] Erekat said that the [Palestinian] leadership is preparing to sue Israel for its crimes against the unarmed demonstrators at the Marches of Return (refers to violent riots at the Gaza-Israel border; see note below -Ed.). [He said:] ‘We will also ask the International Criminal Court’s legal committee to launch an investigation of the Israeli crimes, including the settlements, according to the complaint that was submitted by the State of Palestine. The committee will monitor the topic of the law deducting the allowance (mukhassasat) money of the Martyrs (Shahids), prisoners, and wounded’ (refers to Israeli law deducting terror salaries from tax money collected for the PA; see note below -Ed.).
Erekat explicitly stated that the leadership will continue to pay the salaries (rawatib) of the prisoners, the Martyrs’ families, and the wounded, despite the occupation authorities’ decision to deduct their allowances from the [Palestinian] National Authority’s tax revenues. Erekat sees this as a national obligation and legal and moral commitment that is consistent with the international agreements and treaties regarding prisoners, which Israel is violating with this decision.
He explained that deducting the allowances of the prisoners, Martyrs, and wounded violates [article 81 of] the Fourth Geneva Convention (the summary of the article on the paper’s front page specifically noted article 81 -Ed.), which obligates the states holding [captives] to bear responsibility for them, to provide them with medical treatment, not to deduct anything from their expenses, and to provide for their families (sic., article 81 refers to the rights of protected persons and internees, not those imprisoned for criminal acts -Ed.).
Erekat said that [the ratification of] the Israeli law means that [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu’s government considers the Palestinian National Authority to be nonexistent. Regarding this he emphasized that the leadership is at the service of our people and will never allow any party to rob it, and particularly its money.
[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, July 5, 2018]
 
"The March of Return" refers to massive violent riots in Gaza in which thousands of Palestinians are rioting on the border with Israel and attempting to cut through the security fence, attacking with firebombs, flaming kites, and gunfire. The riots began on March 30, 2018, and were scheduled to last for 6 weeks until Palestinian "Nakba" Day on May 15. On the day the US embassy opened in Jerusalem, May 14, 2018, the Palestinian attacks escalated and 62 Palestinians were killed. A senior official of the terror organization Hamas, Salah Bardawil, stated that 50 of the 62 belonged to Hamas, while Islamic Jihad identified 3 others as belonging to it.
The Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center, an Israeli research institute, published research documenting that from the start of the riots on March 30 until May 15, 93 of the 112 Palestinians killed in the riots (approximately 83%) were members of terrorist organizations.
Petitions against the IDF's use of live fire to combat the rioting submitted by organizations that advocate for Palestinian rights were rejected by Israel's Supreme Court on May 24, 2018. The court accepted the state's argument that the riots were "organized and directed" by Hamas, a terrorist organization, and thereby rejecting the claim that the riots were peaceful and civilian in nature. PMW reports were referred to in the Supreme Court's decision.
 
"PLO Executive Committee member, Fatah Central Committee member, [and Fatah Commissioner of National Relations (i.e., between Hamas and Fatah)] Azzam Al-Ahmad demanded that the Arab states fulfill their commitments to the State of Palestine's budget and to the Al-Quds and Al-Aqsa foundations, so that
 
[Palestine] can deal with the steps of punishment that the American government and Israel have imposed, the most recent being the Israeli Parliament's decision to steal the salaries (rawatib) of the families of the Martyrs (Shahids) and the prisoners in Palestine (referring to Israeli law to deduct terror salaries from PA tax money; see note below -Ed.)"
[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, July 6, 2018]
 
“Secretary of the PLO Executive Committee, [Fatah Central Committee member, and PLO Chief Negotiator] Saeb Erekat said to AFP: ‘This decision (referring to law to deduct terror salaries from PA tax money collected by Israel; see note below -Ed.)
is most dangerous, and nears the point of doing away with the PA. This is robbery and theft.’ He added: ‘Israel is stealing the land and money of the Palestinian people... Its decision to build new housing units in the settlements (possibly referring to Israeli Minister of Defense Avigdor Liberman’s May 2018 announcement that Israel plans to approve 3,900 housing units in 30 West Bank towns -Ed.) constitutes theft of the Palestinian people’s land.’ Erekat emphasized that all of this is a result of ‘the decisions of American President Donald Trump, which are encouraging Israel.’”
[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, July 4, 2018]
 
Headline: "Abu Rudeina: The deduction of the prisoners and Martyrs' allowances is a red line and a sort of declaration of war against the Palestinian people"
“The Palestinian [PA] presidential office condemned the Israeli Parliament's decision to ratify the law to deduct the allowances (mukhassasat) of the Martyrs (Shahids) and prisoners from the Palestinian tax money (referring to a law deducting terror salaries from PA tax money; see note below). Official Spokesman for the [PA] Presidential Office [and Fatah Central Committee member] Nabil Abu Rudeina said in a statement today (Tuesday) [July 3, 2018] that the presidential office adamantly objects to this dangerous decision, and that it thinks it harms the foundations of the relations from the time of the Oslo Accords and until now.
He added that if this law is implemented, it will lead to significant Palestinian decisions in order to deal with this dangerous decision, as this matter is considered one of the red lines that no one is allowed to harm or cross.
Abu Rudeina considered [this law] as a sort of declaration of war against the Palestinian people, its fighters, its prisoners, and also its Martyrs, who have carried the flag of freedom for Jerusalem and the establishment of an independent Palestinian state.
The official spokesman also said: 'The execution of this decision will have dangerous consequences, and all of the Palestinian options will be open on all levels - from the International Criminal Court to the UN Security Council.'
He pointed out that the Israeli Parliament’s oppressive and dangerous decision requires the Palestinian people, the Arab nation, and also the international community to take an uncompromising position in order to oppose it and cancel it. Abu Rudeina continued: ‘In its coming meetings, including the convention of the central council that the PA has established, the Palestinian leadership will consider making critical and historic decisions that will change the character of the existing relations, as this Israeli step is considered an attack against the Palestinian people’s history and its struggle for freedom and independence.’ Abu Rudeina concluded his statement by saying: ‘What is required of the government of Israel now is to reexamine its positions and its decisionsso that matters do not reach a dangerous path and a dead-end.’
[WAFA, official PA news agency, July 3, 2018]
 
Headline: “The [PA] government: Waving the stick of siege will not cause us to agree to Trump’s deal”
“The [PA] national unity government emphasized that the use of the allowances (mukhassasat) of the prisoners and wounded as an excuse to wave the stick of financial and economic siege (referring to an Israeli law to deduct terror salaries from tax money collected for the PA; see note below -Ed.) in order to press for the passage of [US President Donald] Trump’s [Middle East peace] deal ‘will not advance or delay’ anything in this field.
Official [PA] Government Spokesman Yusuf Al-Mahmoud said: ‘Our heroic people, and at its head our leadership led by [PA] President Mahmoud Abbas, has already declared its natural response to completely reject any cooperation with this American step being led by Trump, who takes pride in his blind bias in favor of the occupation and its arbitrary and dark policies.’
The spokesman emphasized that the call by any party to harm the allowances of the prisoners and wounded is an illogical call that expresses political ignorance regarding our people’s culture and our region, in light of the possible consequences of such improvised decisions and calls.
The official spokesman also emphasized that the interpretation saying that the salaries (rawatib) and allowances of the prisoners and wounded are a prize and encouragement of terror is nothing but the occupation’s interpretation that it uses as part of its despicable propaganda and rumors. The official spokesman added that there is a very great
difference between a struggle to recover human dignity and to recover the homeland, which is anchored in all of the international regulations and laws, and the spilling of civilians’ blood, their persecution, their uprooting from their land, their expulsion, the destruction of their homes, and the remaining crimes that the occupation is committing...
He said that the occupation is the one that is fully responsible on all levels, because the Palestinian civilians who are prisoners, wounded, and Martyrs (Shahids) were wounded, imprisoned, and died as Martyrs at the hands of the occupation and due to its existence. Therefore, any cooperation with the occupation’s propaganda is like blaming the victim and acquitting the hangman, which contradicts all human norms.”
[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, July 6, 2018]
 
Headline: "The Independent Council [for Human Rights]: The deduction of the prisoners' allowances is robbery and collective punishment"
"The Independent Council for Human Rights condemned the ratification of the law to deduct the prisoners’ and Martyrs' (Shahids') allowances (mukhassasat) from the Palestinian tax money by the 'Israeli Parliament' (refers to law to deduct terror salaries from taxes collected for the PA; see note below -Ed.).
The council said in a statement yesterday [July 4, 2018] that 'The Israeli law constitutes an illegal blow to both the money owed to the Palestinians according to the agreements signed between the PLO and the occupation government, and a blow to the rights of these groups in the Palestinian society, and a blow to the right of the prisoners and their family members to live in dignity.'
The council also emphasized that ‘There is no contradiction between the clauses of international law and international humanitarian law regarding giving support or salaries (rawatib) to the families of the detained, the prisoners, and the released prisoners - whose families completely depend on them financially in order to manage their lives and to allow them to live with dignity - and the obligation to give them the monetary allowances (mukhassasat) and their right to this.'
The council also noted that the occupation is continuing to violate the principles of international law and the UN resolutions, to harm the prisoners, and to add to their suffering."
[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, July 5, 2018]
 
Headline: “The [PA] government: The law to deduct the allowances of the prisoners and the Martyrs’ [families]”
“The [PA] national unity government condemned the approval of what is called ‘the law to deduct the allowances of the prisoners and the Martyrs’ (Shahids’) [families] from the Palestinian [PA] tax money’ by the Israeli Parliament (sic., the bill passed the Israeli Parliament Committee on Security and Foreign Affairs on June 27, 2018, prior to a general vote in the Israeli Parliament; see note below).
Official [PA] Government Spokesman Yusuf Al-Mahmoud said that this ‘law’ openly and blatantly gives legitimacy to the theft of the Palestinian people’s money, and targets our national symbols and the symbols of the defense of freedom and honor...
He added that the government will not abandon the prisoners and the Martyrs’ families, who have paid with their years and lives for the people, homeland, and all of humanity, because they struggled against the Israeli occupation that constitutes part of the injustice that harms people everywhere in the world.
[WAFA, official PA news agency, June 27, 2018]
 
Headline: “Khaled: Robbery and theft in the Israeli Parliament, the likes of which only exists in the American Congress”
“PLO Executive Committee member Tayseer Khaled responded in a post on social media to the Israeli Parliament approving the deduction of the amount that the PA pays the families of the prisoners and Martyrs (Shahids) from the Palestinian [PA] tax money (sic., the bill passed the Israeli Parliament Committee on Security and Foreign Affairs on June 27, 2018, prior to a general vote in the Israeli Parliament; see note below)...
He said that frankly this is robbery and theft, the likes of which is only that taking place in the American Congress and the Taylor Force Act (i.e., a law cutting almost all US aid to the PA as long as it pays terrorist salaries; see note below), which the American administration is using as a means of blackmail in order to achieve political concessions from the Palestinian side.”
[Ma’an, independent Palestinian news agency, June 27, 2018]
 
The Taylor Force Act - a bill named after US citizen Taylor Force who was murdered by a Palestinian terrorist in Tel Aviv on March 8, 2016, which calls to cut almost all funding to the PA if it continues paying salaries to terrorists and allowances to families of "Martyrs." On March 23, 2018, the bill was approved by the American Congress and signed into law by US President Donald Trump.
 
Reactions to Australia ending direct aid to the PA, instead redirecting through the UN:
 
Australia cuts direct aid to the PA - Australia announced on July 2, 2018, that it is ceasing its direct aid to the PA, and will transfer aid through the UN. Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop explained that Australia unsuccessfully sought confirmation from the PA that the aid was not going to pay terrorists. Bishop added: "Any assistance provided by the PLO to those convicted of politically motivated violence is an affront to Australian values and undermines the prospect of meaningful peace between Israel and the Palestinians." PMW has led the exposure of the salaries paid by the PA to terrorists and their families.
 
PA leader Nabil Shaath: Australia is “worthy of being spat on”
PA Chairman Abbas’ advisor Nabil Shaath:“This filthy talk of ‘the criminals’ in connection with our Martyrs and prisoners - while they are our heroes, the heroes of self-sacrifice and the candles of freedom. They cannot be compared to the Israeli criminals in Israel’s prisons... Australia’s decision [to stop] transferring $10 million angered me greatly... It transferred [the aid to the UN]... so that it would not serve for payment of the salaries of the [prisoners and Martyrs’] families. In other words, the truth is they are worthy of being spat on. You [Australians] are the servants of the US... I don’t want your 10 million, I don’t want to chase after them.”
[Official PA TV, Topic of the Day, July 3, 2018]
 
Nabil Shaath is PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas’ advisor on Foreign Affairs and International Relations
 
Headline: “After Australia announced the stopping of the financial aid to the PA under the pretext of ‘salaries for prisoners’ - the [PLO] Commission of Prisoners’ Affairs: The world must not be dragged after Israel’s false stories and fraud”
“The [PLO] Commission of Prisoners’ Affairs said in a statement yesterday (Tuesday) [July 3, 2018] that the world’s states must not be dragged after Israel’s false stories and fraud, whose goal is to change the facts, or after its failed attempts to define the Palestinians' legitimate right to struggle as a crime, and particularly the attack against the allowances (mukhassasat) of the families of the Martyrs (Shahids), the wounded, and the prisoners (refers to Israeli law deducting terror salaries from tax money collected for the PA; see note below -Ed.).
The commission added: 'Israel is an occupation state, which is implementing the most despicable policy of abuse, oppression, and murder against the members of the Palestinian people, and it is the head of the terror in the region and in the entire world. The Australian position was a type of alignment with the view of the occupation and oppression state' (Australia announced it is ceasing direct aid to the PA on July 2, 2018, citing the PA’s terror salaries as the reason for this decision, and instead will transfer aid through the UN -Ed.)...
The commission said that the world must stand by the victim and not by the executioner...
It noted that the Israeli occupation government allots a large budget to supporting the Israeli prisoners who have committed crimes of murder and attacks against the Palestinian people (sic., Israel does not pay Jewish/Israeli prisoners; see note below), and at the same time has rejected the comparison between the Jewish terrorist prisoners with the Palestinian prisoners - who are prisoners of freedom and legal fighters who struggled for the right to self-determination, in accordance with the UN resolutions and international law.
In the commission’s statement it was said that the care for the families of the Martyrs, the prisoners, the wounded, and the crippled, has been explicitly determined in clause 22 of the Palestinian basic law, which has been considered the constitution of the State of Palestine since the establishment of the PA. It added that what is being paid to these fighters' families is used for food, drink, shelter, education, and medical care...
The commission added that the care for the families of the Martyrs and the prisoners began in 1965, with the outbreak of the modern Palestinian revolution... such that the interest shown in the families whose sons have been captured, fallen as Martyrs, or wounded constitutes an authentic and ideological part of the Palestinian national history."
[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, July 4, 2018]
 
Palestinian claim that Israel pays Israeli prisoners:
Contrary to the Palestinian claims, Israel does not make any payments to Israeli prisoners. Israel’s Social Security Law states specifically that, notwithstanding any entitlement, benefits due to a person held in prison will not be paid. In some cases, even child benefits that are paid to the parents of a minor are stopped, if that minor is convicted and sentenced to a prison sentence. Similarly, a person who is entitled to an Insured Income from the State loses that entitlement for any time he is held in prison following a criminal conviction. Furthermore, accepting the Palestinian claim that Israel makes payments to Israeli prisoners would lead to the untenable conclusion that Israel pays a salary even to Israeli Arab prisoners who carried out terrorist attacks against other Israeli citizens.
 
PA claim that Israeli law to deduct PA tax revenues breaches Article 81 of the Fourth Geneva Convention - The PA claims that Israel's law to deduct the amount of the PA’s payments to terrorists and their families from taxes Israel collects for the PA (passed on July 2, 2018) breaches Article 81 of the Fourth Geneva Convention (GCIV). This is incorrect, as Article 81 applies only to “internees,” and not to terrorists who are standing trial, convicted, or released from prison, and likewise not to the families of dead terrorists. The only “internees” held by Israel are Palestinian terrorists held in administrative detention in accordance with Article 78 of GCIV, and Israel fulfills all its obligations vis-a-vis these “internees.” 

PA claim that Israeli law to deduct PA tax revenues breaches the Oslo Accords - The 1995 Oslo Accords adopted the 1994 Protocol on Economic Relations between Israel and the PLO, provided that Israel would collect certain taxes (import duties, V.A.T., and income tax in certain circumstances) from Palestinians and transfer them to the PA. This was conditional on the PA upholding its commitments to combat terrorism and incitement, among other things. 
The legality of the Israeli law to deduct the amount of the PA’s payments to terrorists and their families from taxes Israel collects for the PA (passed on July 2, 2018) was discussed by the Israeli Parliament Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, and the clear conclusion was that even if the new legislation contravened terms of the Oslo Accords, the PA’s using a portion of this tax money to pay salaries to imprisoned and released terrorists and allowances to the families of dead terrorists is a direct breach of numerous provisions of the Oslo Accords, making the freezing of this money legal.