A written testimony submitted to the House Foreign Affairs Committee Wednesday by the president of the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), Yigal Carmon, revealed the Palestinian Authority continues to pay hundreds of millions to terrorists and their families every year.
According to Carmon's testimony, the PA's legislation stipulates a significant financial commitment to its prisoners and their families, whether it's giving them monthly allowances or finding them jobs following their release. He writes:
...years of imprisonment are calculated as years of seniority of service in PA institutions [...] whoever was imprisoned for five years or more is entitled to a job in a PA institution. Thus, the PA gives priority in job placement to people who were involved in terrorist activity [...] As a result of this commitment, the PA invests significant sums in underwriting the expenses of the prisoners and their families - $137.8 million according to the PA's 2016 budget.
In addition, Carmon reveals that these allowances are provided "without discrimination," claiming the PA has financially compensated members of groups such as Hamas and the Islamic Jihad.
This testimony comes at a time when "the U.S. government has committed more than $5 billion in bilateral economic and non-lethal security assistance to the Palestinians" over the past two decades, according to a report by the Congressional Research Service from March of this year. And if Carmon is to be believed, donations such as the United States' to the PA could be going to these known terrorists:
[Mahmoud] Abbas issued a presidential order according to which the payments to prisoners would no longer be made by the PA's Ministry of Prisoners' Affairs. Instead, they would be disbursed by a PLO Commission for Detainees and Ex-Detainees Affairs. The aim of this deliberately misleading move was to alleviate pressure on the PA by donor countries that do not wish their money to be channeled to support terrorism. However, the offices remained the same and the official in charge remained the same under a new job title. The source of the money remains the PA, which receives them from donor countries, and the overseeing body remains none other than the PA.
Palestinians have carried out over 250 attacks or attempted attacks against Israelis since last October, according to a Middle East Quartet report from February, and Abbas himself has reportedly stated, "We welcome every drop of blood spilled in Jerusalem. This is pure blood, clean blood, blood on its way to Allah [...] With the help of Allah, every martyr will be in heaven, and every wounded will get his reward.”
Perhaps it is time to reconsider funding a government that seems to have no problem supporting terrorists who target one of America's most important allies.