by Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik
Abbas confirms main charge of PMW's new report- that the PA is still paying salaries to terrorists - in meeting today with Norwegian Foreign Minister
Last week, during a debate in Norwegian parliament about the implications of Palestinian Media Watch's report "The PA's Billion Dollar Fraud," the Norwegian Foreign Minister promised to put pressure on Mahmoud Abbas at their meeting this week to stop paying salaries to terrorists. PMW's report shows that despite assurances that it had stopped paying salaries to terrorists, the PA continues to pay them, just by a circuitous route via the PLO.
In the Norwegian minister's meeting with Abbas today, according to the Norwegian daily Dagen, when Abbas was confronted with PMW's charge that the PA was still paying salaries to terrorists in prison, Abbas did not deny that the PA still funds salary payments to prisoners. Rather he confirmed that the salaries are still being paid, when he assured the Norwegian Foreign Minister that these salaries are just not paid with Norwegian money.
Norwegian Foreign Minister Brende:
"'In the meeting, I emphasized that this support program in which financial payments are increased the [longer] the prisoners serve time [in prison], is unacceptable and should be abolished. I emphasized that with the political and economic challenges that Palestinians now face, it is in their own best interest to abolish this program,' says [FM] Brende.
Abbas responded by repeating assurances that Norwegian funds are not going to finance the program."
[Dagen (Norway), May 4, 2016]
PMW's new report exposes that the PA has been lying to donor countries since 2014 when they claimed that the PLO took over paying terrorists' salaries with money that did not come from the donor-supported PA budget. Today's confirmation by Abbas that the salaries continue to be paid - just not with Norwegian money - is a confirmation of PMW's main charge in the report that Abbas created the PLO Commission of Prisoners' Affairs solely for the purpose of deceiving the donor countries, and that the salaries are still financed by the PA. Were it not so, Abbas would simply have denied that the PA is connected in any way to the terrorist salaries.
The following is today's story in the Norwegian daily Dagen:
Headline: "The support program for prisoners is unacceptable"
By Kenneth Fjell Rasmussen
In a meeting with [PA President] Mahmoud Abbas, Norway's Foreign Minister Børge Brende stressed that the current support program for prisoners should be abolished.
Foreign Minister Brende (Conservatives) is on a new tour of the Middle East. Tuesday afternoon and evening, he had meetings first with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem and then with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah.
On the agenda for the meeting with Abbas included the extensive support programs for imprisoned Palestinian Arabs. For years, the Palestinian Authority (PA) has paid salaries to Palestinians convicted of terror offenses, and the worse the deed, the more money they get.
Hans Olav Syversen (Christian Democratic Party) brought this problem up during last week's question and answer session [in Norwegian Parliament], and Brende promised to put further pressure on Abbas at the next opportunity. Brende now confirms to Dagen that the prisoners' salaries were discussed during the meeting in Ramallah.
Should be abolished
'In the meeting, I emphasized that this support program in which financial payments are increased the [longer] the prisoners serve time [in prison], is unacceptable and should be abolished. I emphasized that with the political and economic challenges that Palestinians now face, it is in their own best interest to abolish this program,' says Brende. Abbas responded by repeating assurances that Norwegian funds are not going to finance the program. This is something Brende too continues to emphasize.
'Norwegian support to Palestine goes to state building and institutional development, which everyone is interested in continuing. This is also stressed by the Israeli authorities,' said the Foreign Minister to Dagen.
According to recent statistics on aid from Norad, rendered in Bistandsaktuelt, last year the Palestinians received 630 million Norwegian kroner in aid. Divided among the approximately 4.5 million residents, that comes to around 140 Norwegian kroner per person. This makes the Palestinian Arabs the obvious aid winners.
Norwegian support goes mainly to rebuilding Gaza after the war, budget support for the Palestinian Authority and education.
It is the budget support which in particular has received criticism from individuals and organizations that fight against the flow of money to the terrorists.
Last week, Israeli Arnold Roth said to Dagen that Norwegian authorities must understand that [when they] indirectly contribute to the PA's salaries to imprisoned terrorists, [they are] helping to maintain a Palestinian culture that supports terror as a political instrument.
'Of course it is impossible to distinguish between Norwegian money and other money in one pot,' stated the man who in 2001 lost his daughter in one of the largest terrorist attacks that ever hit Jerusalem. Since then, many of those involved in the attack have been paid salaries from the Palestinian Authority."
Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik
Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.