The Palestine National Fund: Encouraging Terror at the Expense of Palestinians

This article reveals the scale of the budget, the large funds paid by the Palestine National Fund (PNF) to terrorists, and its promotion of terrorism against the state of Israel.

Since its establishment in 1964, with the purpose of serving as a body to manage Palestinian funds, the Palestine National Fund (PNF) has changed its objective. In recent years, a large part of the PNF’s budget has been diverted to support terrorists, at the expense of promoting the welfare of the Palestinian population. Due to this, on the 16th of March 2017 Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman designated the Palestine National Fund as a terrorist organization. Following the designation, Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories Major General Yoav (Poly) Mordechai instructed to revoke the VIP Permit of Ramzi Khouri, CEO of the PNF.

Commission for Prisoners Affairs: Same Body, New Name

The Palestine National Fund, whose sources of income and expenses are partially known, has become the primary funder of the Commission for Prisoners’ Affairs since 2014. The PNF began its funding of the commission after criticism was raised to the Palestinian Authority (PA) by key players in the international community regarding the activity of the Ministry of Prisoners’ Affairs. The international community's claim was that the Ministry of Prisoners’ Affairs should not allocate money from its budget to fund the welfare of terror operatives, as a reward for carrying out security offenses and at the expense of all Palestinians.  

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Ramzi Khouri, CEO of PNF

Following pressure from the international community, the Palestinian Authority decided to subordinate the Ministry of Prisoners’ Affairs to the PNF and changed its name to the Commission for Prisoners’ Affairs. It is clear that this new commission is similar to the ministry—in terms of managers, offices and even contains a nearly identical budget that stands at close to half a billion NIS per year. This new commission is a similar replica of the ministry, but with a new name.

The purpose of differentiating between the Palestinian Authority and the body financing the prisoners is to improve the PA’s image and make it difficult for Israel and the international community to uncover the source of aid money to terrorists in prison. However, their attempt failed and the plot was revealed. Since 2014, the Palestine National Fund has transferred payments to Palestinian terrorists, which often occurs even after these terrorists receive funds from the terror organizations with whom they affiliate. Additionally, the commission transfers monthly payments to released prisoners, amongst those are murderers and suicide attack planners. In fact, released Palestinian terrorists who currently live in Judea and Samaria receive a salary for their involvement in terror activities. Imagine what could be accomplished if instead of paying terrorists, the funds went to education, infrastructure and cushioning the cost of living for Palestinians.

12,000 NIS a Month for Terrorists in Prison

For those who wonder how much a prisoner receives—one who has been convicted of involvement in terror and now sits in an Israeli prison—the following figures will clarify the absurdity. A prisoner who is sent to prison for a term of up to two years will receive 1,400 NIS from the Palestine National Fund each month, and the amount increases in accordance with the prison term. A murderer of an Israeli citizen or one who plans a suicide bombing who has been sentenced to more than 20 years in prison, earns 12,000 NIS a month.

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The large budget allocated to prisoners is even more absurd when it comes to the payments for released prisoners, especially when this money should be directed to civilian projects for the welfare of the Palestinian population. Released prisoners who have served five years in an Israeli prison, after being involved in terrorist activities, receives a monthly salary of 2,000 NIS from the PNF. A prisoner serving over 30 years in prison will receive 11,000 NIS per month from the PNF, an amount much greater than the average Palestinian salary. In addition, released terrorists who committed acts of terror against innocent Israeli citizens receive a one-time payment when they are released from prison. This payment can reach up to 25,000 dollars.

Furthermore, these payments can even be doubled. Prisoners who affiliate with terror organizations, such as Hamas and the Islamic Jihad, receive large sums of money from both the PNF and their affiliated organization. On the one hand, the Palestinian Authority uses their security forces to stop Hamas activists and prevent terror attacks. On the other hand, the PNF transfers money which encourages more terror attacks. For example, Ibrahim Ghaneemat, a Hamas operative directly involved with the murder of many Israeli civilians, received more than one million NIS since his arrest in 2005, of which over 700,000 NIS came from the Palestine National Fund, while the rest came from Hamas.

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Payments to Encourage Terror

The payments transferred to terrorists in prison and to released terrorists encourage other Palestinians to join this cycle of violence and terrorism. Instead of investing money in educating children on peace and improving the standard of living for law-abiding Palestinians, the PNF exploits its budget to fund and celebrate criminals. This encourages more criminals to join the circle of violence, which cannot end if it continues as such.

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It is enough to read the testimonies of Palestinians arrested for the second time by Israel to illustrate the fact that the Palestine National Fund—the PLO’s body—supports terrorist activity. These Palestinians continued to engage in terrorist activity in order to return to prison and complete the five-year minimum quota and thus, receive a fixed salary for life as a released prisoner. These attempts to fulfill a minimum quota have become an ugly phenomenon that must be condemned.

In addition, there is clear evidence that senior members of the PNF attempted to conceal from the world their money transfers to prisoners involved in terrorism against Israel. However, members of the international community quickly picked up and publicized this scheme. United States Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs Ed Royce, said in November 2016 that “this ‘pay-to-slay scheme' must stop," adding that the most brutal terrorists enjoy the highest salaries.

The designation of the Palestine National Fund as a terrorist organization is an important step in making it clear, to Palestinians and to the entire world, that Israel will not remain silent about the funding of terrorists, whether imprisoned or released. The large amounts of money transferred by the PNF to these terrorists every month—who in many instances receive an additional salary from their own terror organizations—prove that the PNF encourages more terrorism against the State of Israel. These funds could be allocated to development and infrastructure for Palestinians, but the PNF chooses instead to assist those responsible for destruction and terror.