Palestinian Authority Banks Refuse to Accept Salaries for Terrorists

July 9, 2020

by: Maurice Hirsch, Adv.

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The Bank of Palestine in Ramallah

Thursday, 9 July 2020 | Ignoring a directive from the Palestinian Authority (PA) to all banks in the PA areas that they must accept money for payment of salaries to the accounts of terrorists and families of killed terrorists, at least four banks have refused to follow the PA’s dictates. All the banks are refusing to allow these groups to use their ATM cards.

This comes two-and-a-half months after Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) sent letters warning the banks operating in the PA-controlled areas of potential criminal and civil liability if they continued aiding and abetting the PA to pay rewards to terrorists.

For five weeks, Palestinian civil servants have waited for the PA to pay them their May salaries. While the PA usually pays its employees in the first half of every month, until July 3, the PA had not paid any salaries to its employees for the month of May. The delay in the payment was ostensibly a result of the renewed refusal to receive the tax monies Israel collects and transfers to the PA, but was also potentially connected to the PA’s difficulties to pay the terrorist prisoners.

May 2020 could have been the first month in over a decade in which the PA did not pay salaries to terrorist prisoners and released prisoners. This was not the result of a change in PA policy, but rather, as PMW has shown, demonstrates that for the PA, the terrorist prisoners are equally entitled to their salaries as the rest of the PA’s law abiding, non-terrorist employees.

On July 3, the PA paid all of its employees, including the terrorist prisoners and released prisoners, their salary for the month of May. While the PA was determined to pay the salaries of the terrorist prisoners, it would appear that the banks operating in the PA-controlled areas were less than fully cooperative.

In April 2020, PMW sent warning letters to all the banks operating in the PA-controlled areas. PMW warned that new anti-terror legislation promulgated by the IDF [Israel Defense Forces] Military Commander for Judea and Samaria made the performance of any bank transaction connected to the payment of rewards for acts of terrorism a criminal offense. PMW added that if the banks wished to avoid both criminal and civil liability, they would have to stop providing the platform and aiding and abetting the PA to pay the salaries to the terrorists.

The banks responded to PMW by writing to PA Minister of Finance Shukri Bishara on May 7, 2020, saying that considering the “risks to which the banks will be exposed as a result of the presence of these accounts [of prisoners, released prisoners, and families of martyrs and prisoners]…all of the banks hereby ask Your Honor to stop transferring any sums into these accounts. The banks will transfer the balances in these accounts to the Ministry of Finance’s account.”

While the PA has decided to try [to] circumvent the anti-terror legislation by creating a new bank that will serve the imprisoned and released terrorists and the families of the dead terrorists, that bank has not yet been established.

On numerous other occasions PA President Mahmoud Abbas has promised that even if the PA has only one penny left in its coffers, he will pay it to the terrorist prisoners before anyone else.

Interestingly, while the PA’s coffers are far from empty—the PA’s income for the first quarter of 2020 rose by NIS 1.25 billion [US $362 million] as compared to the same period in 2019, and EU aid to the PA, earmarked for the payment of the salaries to legitimate PA employees, has continued without disruption—the PA nonetheless paid the terrorists the same percentage of their salaries as the rest of the PA’s legitimate employees.

Posted on July 9, 2020

Source: (Excerpt from an article originally published in Palestinian Media Watch on July 6, 2020. Time related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See the original article at this link.) 

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