Suing The Palestinian Authority
By The Jerusalem Post | by Dr. Rachel Ehrenfeld
Tuesday, November 29th, 2005 @ 11:23PM
Fayad is said to be particularly upset because PA Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei arranged that the $350 million being donated to the PA in 2005 is paying to employ 60,000 people in the security services. Among these are Palestinian terrorists serving time in Israeli prisons. The prisoners include those who murdered Israelis, suicide bomber dispatchers, and suicide bombers caught en route. “We don’t know if 10-15,000 of these people are even still working or not,” said the head of the parliament’s economic committee, Azmi Shuabi. Saadi al-Wahidi, a senior official at the PA’s Civil Service Administration, told the Palestinian newspaper Al-Hayat Al-Jadeeda on November 16 that the PA has created a special committee to determine the pension eligibility of all members of Palestinian armed organizations such as the Aksa Martyrs Brigade, the Kassam Brigade, Hamas and Islamic Jihad. The payments will be retroactive and include current and former Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli prisons. This committee was established following the September 3 announcement by the Palestinian Minister for Prisoner Affairs, Sufayan Abu Zayda, that his office deposits salaries of $400 to $500 a month for each prisoner, in addition to a $50 monthly payment each for expenses in the prison canteen. The Palestinian Prison Affairs office also funds current prisoners’ legal expenses, medical treatment, etc. All together, Abu Zayda said, his office receives $4 million a month from the PA to support Palestinian terrorists held in Israeli prisons. THE PA’S open financial support for terrorists builds on the official legal recognition and responsibility taken for all Palestinian terrorists by the PA, made for the first time on August 21 by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas after the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza. Praising the terrorists who died, Abbas said that their families “need to be truly cared for, not just by [Palestinian] society but [also] by the Palestinian Authority, and therefore we have decided to allocate 5% of all government positions to them.” In his statement to Al-Hayat Al-Jadeeda, Abu Zayda noted that an additional $100,000 is dedicated to tuition for every terrorist prisoner who seeks higher education, regardless of his organizational affiliation or crimes. On September 7, in a follow-up interview with Al Quds, another Palestinian daily, Abu Zayda reported that another decision had been taken by the PA to increase the salaries of all Palestinian security forces. Since the Palestinian terrorists in Israeli prisons are considered part of these forces, their income will also rise. According to this new decision, those who have served the longest terms in Israeli prisons – i.e., those who have committed the most heinous crimes – will receive the highest compensation. Thus a prisoner who spent 25 years in Israeli prison will receive about $900 a month. Prisoners who are residents of Jerusalem will receive an extra $50 monthly. This generous sponsorship of Palestinian terrorists past and present by the PA should now enable all victims of Palestinian terrorist groups to sue the PA for compensation. However, they are likely to face great difficulties enforcing judgments against the PA. As Gary M. Osen, a leading expert in terror financing litigation, observed: “Court victories against the Palestinian Authority are necessary and important, but at the same time, because most of the world’s governments shield the PA’s assets, collecting on a judgment against the PA is still very difficult.” Moreover, while the international community, including the European Union and the United States, shield Palestinian assets, they continue to fund the PA. The abrupt and angry resignation of Fayad, who was seen by all as the symbol of a new Palestinian system of financial reform, should have resulted in immediate sanctions against the massive corruption in the PA. But the international community has set out to create a Palestinian state, and nothing – not even the PA’s admitted sponsorship of convicted terrorists – is likely to stop it. The writer, author of Funding Evil; How Terrorism Is Financed – and How to Stop It, is director of American Center for Democracy (www.public-integrity.org) and a member of the Committee on the Present Danger.