|King of the pile: Abdullah Barghouti.
Protestors like these call this murderer of 67 people
a political prisoner. His monthly pay check from the PA is 400%
of the average salary of a Palestinian Arab civil servant [source]
As if it were not a sufficiently bitter experience to lose a greatly-loved daughter to a cold-blooded act of triumphal terrorist homicide, we and many other Israeli parents of murdered children or partners or parents or siblings have had to cope with an ongoing succession of stinging slaps to the face. Some have been delivered by the political leadership of the Palestinian Arabs. Others have come from much closer to home.
Explaining what this does to an ordinary family like ours has never come easily to us. We write and speak. We make more than average effort to be heard. At a succession of important junctures, we have felt it was terribly important to persuade people that something terrible was happening and needed to be stopped before it was too late, and we have spoken up. But as regular readers of these posts know, it is hard to do, and we have generally failed. We are not alone in this, but that makes it no easier to bear.
One of the exceptionally painful dimensions of the experience we share with thousands of other Israelis is the through-the-looking-glass manner in which the lives of Palestinian Arab prisoners are presented to the outside world. Out there, beyond Israel's borders but also incredibly within them, there is a legion of individuals and political groupings making passionate efforts to have the world buy a bogus argument that says the Palestinian Arab prisoners held by Israel's military and criminal justice system are freedom fighters, noble heroes, held behind bars for lowly political reasons.
This is not one of those posts in which we focus on the hateful evil which those men and women and the psychopathic society that spawned them in fact embody.
Instead, because of the publication of an important new book, we want to share what its author has written about how this sickening charade - in which savage killers of unarmed Israelis and Jews are acclaimed as heroes - works in the Palestinian Arab world. The following are verbatim quotes.
- When a Palestinian is convicted of an act of terror against the Israeli government or innocent civilians, such as a bombing or a murder, that convicted terrorist automatically receives a generous salary from the Palestinian Authority. The salary is specified by the Palestinian Law of the Prisoner and administered by the PA’s Ministry of Prisoner Affairs... [E]ven during frequent budget shortfalls and financial crisis, the PA pays the terrorists’ salaries first and foremost — before other fiscal obligations.
- The Law of the Prisoner narrowly delineates just who is entitled to receive an official salary... “A detainee is each and every person who is in an Occupation prison based on his or her participation in the resistance to Occupation.” This means crimes against Israel or Israelis. “It does not include common-law thieves and burglars. They are not included and are not part of the mandate of the Ministry.”
- Under a sliding scale, carefully articulated in the Law of the Prisoner, the more heinous the act of terrorism and the longer the prison sentence, the higher is the salary. Detention for up to three years fetches a salary of almost $400 per month. Prisoners incarcerated between three and five years will be paid about $560 monthly — a compensation level already higher than that for many ordinary West Bank jobs. Sentences of 10 to 15 years fetch salaries of about $1,690 per month. More severe acts of terrorism, those punished with sentences between 15 and 20 years, earn almost $2,000 per month. These are the best salaries in the Palestinian territories. The Arabic word , meaning “salary,” is the official term for this compensation. The law ensures the greatest financial reward for the most egregious acts of terrorism.
- In the Palestinian community, the salaries are no secret — they are publicly hailed in public speeches and special TV reports. From time to time, the salaries are augmented with special additional financial incentives. For example, in 2009, a $150-per-prisoner bonus was approved to mark the religious holiday of Eid al-Adha. President Mahmoud Abbas also directed that an extra $190 “be added to the stipends given to Palestinians affiliated with PLO factions in Israeli prisons this month.” Reporting on the additional emolument, the Palestinian news service Ma’an explained, “Each PLO-affiliated prisoner [already] receives [a special allocation of] $238 per month, plus an extra $71 if they are married, and an extra $12 for each child. The stipend is paid by the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) each month.”
- About 6 percent of the Palestinian budget is diverted to terrorist salaries. All this money comes from so-called “donor countries” such as the United States, Great Britain, Norway, and Denmark.
- [Quote from a PA functionary:] "The prisoners are our joy. We will sacrifice everything for them and continue to provide for their families.”
Black is an award-winning, New York Times investigative reporter, and a best-selling author. Among the best-known of his works: IBM and the Holocaust (2001). His newest book, "Financing the Flames: How Tax-Exempt and Public Money Fuel a Culture of Confrontation and Terrorism in Israel", is the source from which the article we just mentioned was drawn.
It seeks to shock Western readers into understanding how their personal pocket-books have been instrumental in funding horrifying acts of terror.
Black expands more articulately than we ever could on issues about which we nevertheless have written in our blog. Because we are deeply and personally invested in this explosive issue, we hope readers will help us get Black's message, and our own, out into the world. It is way past time that decent people understood better how their naivete and passivity are exploited.
Just four examples now from among many on our site:
- 28-Jul-11: Taxpayer-funded salaries to convicted Palestinian Arab terrorists. What a good idea.
- 4-Sep-12: Where's the shame? How much of your tax dollars went to fund the pension of our child's murderer? More than you probably thought
- 14-Jun-13: When the murderers go free, what does it really do to you?
- 1-Jul-13: 66 acts of murder make him a hero in parts of the Arab world. What does this tell us about parts of the Arab world?