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Palestinian Authority Funding to Terrorists and their Families

This article is part of a larger study on Palestinian Incitement,The Knife and the Message: The Roots of the New Palestinian Uprising.”

Blood Money Incitement

The Palestinian Authority (PA) is responsible for one more nefarious form of incitement to attack Jews – paying large bounties to the attackers and their families. An attacker can go out to commit murder assured that if he is arrested he will receive a monthly salary; if he is killed, his family will receive a monthly pension; and if his family home is destroyed, the family will receive a very generous award to rebuild their home.

Rather than being deterred by the harsh consequence of their terrorist attack at Israel’s hand, the perpetrators are actually encouraged and incentivized by the Palestinian leadership. According to one study published by the Gatestone Institute, “Terrorists in prison receive higher average salary than PA civil servants and military personnel.”1

Ruins of a Muhannad Halabi's house

Muhannad Halabi stabbed two Israelis to death in Jerusalem in October 2015. In response, the IDF razed his home near Ramallah. Activists in Ramallah raised more than $63,000 – besides grants offered by the PA and Iran – to rebuild the Halabi home.2 (Arab press)

An Israeli government 2014 memorandum, citing official PA budgetary reports, noted that $75.5 million had been paid out in stipends to convicted terrorists and their families in 2012.3

The instructions for compensation payments come from the highest levels of the Palestinian Authority, according to the Al-Araby Al-Jadeed website in February 2014: “The Jerusalem Martyrs’ families and the National ‎Campaign to Return the Bodies of the ‎Martyrs confirmed that ‎President Mahmoud Abbas promised to ‎compensate the Jerusalem Martyrs’ ‎families for their homes, which the ‎occupation forces demolished or ‎damaged.”4

In a long-standing practice, the Palestinian Authority grants large bonuses to prisoners – even terrorists – when they are released from prison. The longer the stay, the more the pay. These grant payments reached more than $6 million, creating a serious crisis, according to Director of the PLO Commission of Prisoners’ Affairs Issa Karake.5

The British Telegraph provided more details on April 27, 2014:

Based on Palestinian documents, Palestinian Media Watch says that the longest-serving terrorists receive £2,075 [British pounds] per month, plus bonuses for wives and children. Grants made upon release can be as much as £50,000. The average Palestinian wage is about £312 per month. In 2013, the Palestinian Authority (PA) paid more than £60 million to those convicted of terror offences; of this, £9 million was paid as bonuses when terrorists were released. In February, the Palestinian Authority announced that this bonus pot would be increased to £27 million.6

Meanwhile, a bidding war has erupted between the PA/Fatah on one side and Hamas/Iran on the other. Iran accused the PA of failing to deliver aid it sent to the terrorists’ families. In reaction, Iran announced the formation of another organization to provide funds to Palestinians; the grants would amount to $7,000 to every family of a shaheed (martyr) and $30,000 to rebuild any house destroyed because of a family member’s involvement in a terrorist act.7 The Iranian accusation further weakens the Palestinian Authority, seen by many Palestinians as a corrupt organization.

American lawmakers are angry over the Palestinian Authority’s involvement in incitement. On September 25, 2015, the State Department informed Congress that it would cut economic aid for the West Bank and Gaza by 22 percent. “There were several factors contributing to this decision,” a State Department official said, “including unhelpful actions taken by the Palestinians and constraints on our global assistance budget.”8

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1 Itamar Marcus, “Palestinian Authority Paying Salaries to Terrorists with U.S. Money,” Gatestone Institute, July 28, 2011,

2 “Palestinians raise funds to rebuild demolished home,” Al Jazeera, January 12, 2016,

3 “Israel takes aim at PA payments to Palestinian prisoners,” Ynet News, June, 26, 1914,,7340,L-4534940,00.html

4 Palestinian Media Watch,

5 “PLO director of Prisoners’ Affairs urges PA to pay grants to released prisoners and announces that Abbas issued order to pay them,” Palestinian Media Watch, citing Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, November 17, 2015,; “PLO organization approves list of ‘Martyrs,’ pays allowances to families of terrorists,” Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, January 13, 2016, translated by Palestinian Media Watch,

6 Jake Wallis Simons, “Palestinians reward terrorists from British aid,” The Telegraph, April 27, 2014,

7 “Palestinians reject direct Iran aid as ‘interference,’” The National (UAE) and AFP.

8 Julian Pecquet, “U.S. sends ‘message’ to Abbas with $80 million aid cut,” Al-Monitor, October 22, 2015,

About Lenny Ben-David

Lenny Ben-David is the Jerusalem Center’s Director of Publications. Ben-David served 25 years in senior posts in AIPAC in Washington and Jerusalem. He served as Israel’s Deputy Chief of Mission in the Embassy in Washington D.C. He also publishes
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