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Palestinian Government To Reward Hamas Terrorists With Nearly $3 Million, Watchdog Says

Terrorists who murdered Israelis to get monthly salaries

Mahmoud Abbas (Stephanie Keith/Getty Images)
October 17, 2023

The Palestinian government is expected to dole out nearly $3 million this month to the families of Hamas terrorists responsible for an unprecedented attack on Israel that killed nearly 1,500 civilians and wounded many more, according to a watchdog group.

The Palestinian Authority, as part of its "pay-to-slay" program, will allocate "$2,807,021 this month to reward Hamas terrorists for Saturday’s massacre," according to Palestinian Media Watch, an Israeli nonprofit that monitors the Palestinian government’s expenditures.

The Palestinian government has long administered a program that awards imprisoned and killed terrorists who attack Israel, using international aid dollars to funnel cash to the families of those terrorists killed. In the wake of Hamas’s slaughter, "each family of the 1,500 dead Hamas terrorists who invaded Israel will receive 7,400 shekels (around $1,900) for this first month."

"Families of those terrorists who were married and had children will receive even more," according to Palestinian Media Watch’s calculations. The Palestinian government "will pay at least 11,100,000 shekels ($2,789,430) this month as a reward for participating in last week’s murders and atrocities against Israeli civilians."

The Palestinian government’s terrorism incentive program has long generated outrage among American lawmakers, who passed a bipartisan law in 2018 to ban American aid until the "pay-to-slay" program is ended. Even with the law in place, the Biden administration decided to pump nearly half-a-billion dollars into the Palestinian government upon taking office. This prompted American terrorism victims to sue the administration for violating the law, known as the Taylor Force Act.

Palestinian government leaders, including PA president Mahmoud Abbas, have refused to end the "pay-to-slay" program, even in the face of international pressure. "Regarding stopping the payments to the families of the Martyrs and the prisoners by the PA—this will not happen either," Palestinian prime minister Muhammad Shtayyeh said in July.

In the wake of Hamas’s most sophisticated attack in history, the PA is on track to give out a total of $2,807,021, though that number is expected to rise as more terrorists are killed or captured by Israel.

"The 50 captured Hamas terrorist murderers will receive monthly salaries in prison starting at 1,400 shekels/month [$348] which will eventually rise to 12,000 shekels/month [$2,983]," according to Palestinian Media Watch. "Terrorists who are married and have children will receive even higher salaries. This month these newly arrested terrorists will receive at least 70,000 shekels," or $17,590.

The Biden administration privately raised concerns in 2021 that its decision to resume Palestinian aid would bolster Hamas and other terrorist groups in the region, the Washington Free Beacon first reported.

"We assess there is a high risk Hamas could potentially derive indirect, unintentional benefit from U.S. assistance to Gaza," the State Department warned in internal correspondence circulated in March 2021. "There is less but still some risk U.S. assistance would benefit other designated groups."

The administration moved ahead with its aid plan anyway, allocating millions to the Palestinian government as it continued to pay terrorists and their families.

European countries that fund the Palestinian government also are liable for bolstering the "pay-to-slay" program, according to Palestinian Media Watch.

"The Palestinian Authority should be sending a big thank you to the EU countries and Norway, currently the largest funders of the PA because the PA could not possibly make these terror payments without them," the group wrote in its analysis. "These donor countries like to pretend that it’s not their money rewarding terrorists, but everyone knows that the PA could not reward terrorists without this generous foreign funding."

"When payments to teachers, police, and street cleaners are taken care of by international donors," the group wrote, "the PA has the hundreds of millions available it needs to pay for terror."

Representatives for the Palestinian Authority did not respond to a Free Beacon request for comment.