Norwegian officials calling on the Palestinians to drop a program that uses funding from U.S. and other Western nations’ taxpayers to pay salaries to jailed murderers.
Borge Brende, the Norwegian foreign minister, confirmed in a report in the daily Dagen newspaper that he told Mahmoud Abbas to cancel the payments, according to Palestinian Media Watch.
WND reported earlier it was PMW that followed a “money trail” showing that the Palestinian Authority is secretly continuing to pay “salaries” to convicted terrorists, despite promising two years ago to stop the payments.
The organization said it found Palestinian Authority Ministry of Finance documents that show a transfer of money from the PA to the Palestinian National Fund, the body that funds the Palestinian Liberation Organization, in the amount needed to pay the salaries.
The PA has received an estimated $25 billion in financial aid from the U.S. and other countries over two decades, according to the Gatestone Institute.
The PA’s payments became an issue for donor nations in 2014 after PMW exposed them.
PMW said that among the likely recipients is Abdallah Barghouti, now serving 67 life sentences for preparing explosives for terror attacks over the years that killed 67 people.
After having been imprisoned for 13 years, Barghouti would be receiving about $1,600 a month now, according to the PA law.
When the Western donor nations objected in August 2014, the PA announced it had closed its Ministry of Prisoners’ Affairs and promised “that salaries to prisoners will no longer be paid by the PA but by the newly formed PLO Commission of Prisoners’ Affairs.”
But the PMW report revealed the new PLO Commission is identical to the old PA Ministry of Prisoners’ Affairs in everything but name.
The commission and the salary payments to prisoners remain under the “supervision” of the Palestinian presidency, meaning Mahmoud Abbas. The PA minister of prisoners’ affairs became the director of the PLO Commission of Prisoners’ Affairs, PMW explained
In 2014, the last year the PA Ministry of Prisoners’ Affairs operated, its budget was 442 million shekels ($118 million), PMW noted. The year after the “closure” of the PA Ministry of Prisoners’ Affairs, the PA raised the amount it transfers to the PLO by 481 million shekels ($128 million), from 294 million in 2014 to 775 million in 2015.
PMW found the additional $128 million the PA gave to the PLO in 2015 “is the amount the PLO Commission of Prisoners’ Affairs needed to take on the responsibilities of the PA Ministry of Prisoners’ Affairs, which is primarily paying terrorists salaries.”
It means, PMW said, Western nations were duped into believing the murderers’ salaries no longer were being subsidized by taxpayer funds.
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