In addition to lump sum, former inmates also promoted to senior government positions that carry large monthly salaries
Of course, Americans—especially those living in the Middle East—have a lot more to occupy them these days.
On Tuesday, after a drone strike in Yemen had killed four Al Qaeda members, the U.S. (and Britain) told all their nonessential personnel in Yemen to leave the country immediately for fear of a major terror attack.
That came hard on the heels of Washington’s global travel alert on Friday, which led to the U.S. closing 21 embassies and consulates on Sunday mainly in Middle Eastern countries. The New York Times reported that the alert stemmed from intercepted messages between top Al Qaeda terrorists.
Meanwhile, Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat announced that on August 13 Israel will be freeing 26 Palestinian prisoners—the first batch of a total of 104 supposed to be released in stages as part of the Israeli-Palestinian talks concocted by Secretary of State John Kerry.
Erekat is, of course, the veteran talking head with the calm demeanor and elegant English. In 2002, at the height of the Palestinian suicide-bombing campaign against Israel, he claimed in a vicious blood libel that Israel had killed 500 civilians in the Jenin refugee camp. Eventually even a UN fact-finding team found the charge totally baseless. To my knowledge Erekat has never been taken to task, let alone discredited, for blatant lying.
He may well, though, be telling the truth when he mentions upcoming festivities in Ramallah. Palestinian-affairs commentator Khaled Abu Toameh also reports plans for a “big rally” there to welcome the freed prisoners.
The problem with these prisoners, of course, is that they’re the same sort of people who have been prompting alerts and shutdowns these last few days—terrorists.
They’re “pre-Oslo terrorists,” meaning their crimes were committed in 1993 or earlier. This should be of consolation only to those who think 20 years or so in prison is sufficient for acts of planned, deliberate murder, mostly of civilians including children.
True, Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu and his cabinet approved the prisoner release. They did so after Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas made it a do-or-die precondition for launching “peace talks,” and after Kerry had been pressuring Jerusalem to comply for months.
Although Kerry, in his six visits to the region over the past four months, has been in Ramallah repeatedly, he won’t be attending the welcoming ceremony for the prisoners. U.S. officials, of course, don’t go to such events; it would be an insult to Israel, and what they’d see—one would like to think—would be unpleasant and discouraging.
For that matter, one doesn’t know if Kerry or any of his subordinates bother checking into similar phenomena, such as a newly reposted, official Facebook page of Fatah—Abbas’s movement and essentially Israel’s interlocutor in the talks—that glorifies a whole string of terrorist attacks and wipes Israel from the map.
Of course, all sorts of pragmatic reasons can be invoked for why Kerry had to push so hard for precisely these “peace talks”—mass terrorist-releases and all—precisely now. It will be said that it “looks good” if America is engaged in the Palestinian issue, or that Israel’s ongoing overlordship of the West Bank and denial of sovereignty to the Palestinian terror-culture is “untenable.”
The question, of course, is how far moral principles can be stretched; or why some terrorists deserve to be wiped out in drone strikes while—almost at the same time—others deserve to go scot-free.
Or whether America, confronting resurgent Al Qaeda, needs to be heavily pressuring a democratic ally into “peace talks” with an unrepentant terror-entity.
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Rare interview with wife of Palestinian prisoner
proves PMW’s contention
that PA pays salaries to prisoners,
and not social welfare to their families,
as reported by foreign ministries
PA TV interview confirms that
Norway and UK Foreign Ministries
gave incorrect information to their parliaments
PA TV journalist to wife of prisoner:
Since 2011, Palestinian Media Watch has been supplying governments and media worldwide with documentation that the PA pays high monthly salaries to Palestinians imprisoned in Israel for security offenses, including terrorists serving multiple life-sentences for murder.
Yet for nearly two years, the British and Norwegian Foreign Ministries have told their MPs that PMW’s documentation was incorrect. They argued that the PA does not pay salaries to security prisoners, which would be a reward for terror, but gives “social aid to the families” like other PA social welfare programs. This, they have now explained, was what the PA assured them.
In spite of all PMW’s documentation, Norway and the UK have justified their continued funding of the PA, saying that none of their support money was going into a funding program specifically for terrorists, but was going to the wives and children. (See quotes below.)
PMW is now releasing a recent interview with a wife of a Palestinian prisoner that verifies the accuracy of PMW’s reports. In the interview, the prisoner’s wife and mother of five children complains repeatedly that the prisoner, her husband, has not given her and their children control of his salary, but instead gave it to his brother.
Click to view
This testimony refutes the claims of UK Minister of State Alan Duncan in his letter on behalf of UK’s DfID, Department for International Development:
It also refutes the claims of Norway’s Foreign Ministry that the payments are “social benefits to the families”:
As is clear from the account of the prisoner’s wife broadcast on PA TV and the response of the PA Ministry of Prisoners’ Affairs, the payment is the prisoner’s salary, is under his control, and is not a social welfare payment.
In practice, since a prisoner does not have direct access to his salary, another person must be appointed to control the money. PMW has documented that PA law gives the prisoner, and not his wife, the sole right to appoint a representative by signing a power of attorney form brought to him by a Red Cross representative or his lawyer.
When interviewed for the program, the Minister of Prisoners’ Affairs Karake said that the purpose of the payments were to help the families:
And as the interview shows – in reality that relative who receives control of the salary is not necessarily the wife.
PMW notes that Norwegian Foreign Minister Eide recently acknowledged to the Parliamentary Committee on Scrutiny and Constitutional Affairs that the PA gave Norway wrong information regarding the prisoners’ salaries. PMW is not aware of any public reports that UK Minister of State Alan Duncan has likewise notified his Parliament that the UK was misled by the PA.
Neither Norway nor Britain has indicated if the fact that the PA pays salaries to convicted terrorists in prison from its budget, will impact on their future funding of the PA budget.
Click to view 9 minutes of the interview with the prisoner’s wife on PA TV.
Below is the transcript of 9 minutes of the interview, including Minister of Prisoners’ Affairs Issa Karake’s response to PA TV.
To review how the story has been developing in Norway:
Click to see how PMW’s findings generated this debate in Norway, the responses of Norwegian MPs, and the Parliamentary Committee investigation questioning why the Foreign Ministry did not give the correct information to parliament earlier.
Click to see how the Parliamentary Committee expressed dissatisfaction with the Foreign Minister’s first answer, and how the Foreign Minister in his second letter admitted that the PA has special support program for prisoners, including terrorists, in Israel, and how that prompted the Committee to question what the Foreign Ministry did to verify the information it had received from the PA.
Click to see the UK Parliament debateof PMW’s findings about PA hate incitement and UK’s funding of the PA.