As documented here at the time, last week BBC News website visitors saw an exceptionally rare reference to the Palestinian Authority’s payments to terrorists and their families in a report about a new Israeli law linked to that issue.
“In that report BBC audiences were told for the first time that:
“It [the Palestinian Authority] is estimated to spend about $330m each year – about 7% of its budget – on salaries and benefits under the programme.”
The BBC’s first mention of the Taylor Force Act comes in the last paragraph of the report:
“In March, the US Congress approved similar legislation, the Taylor Force Act, which suspends some US financial aid to the PA until it stops making payments to prisoners and their families. The act was named after an American killed in an attack by a Palestinian in Israel in 2016.”
Several days later, attendees at a Fatah Central Committee meeting heard PA president Mahmoud Abbas’ reaction to the Israeli legislation – including the interesting claim that payments to terrorists began even before the existence of any ‘occupation’.
“Abbas lashed out at Israel for its decision to deduct payments made by the PA to families of “martyrs” and security prisoners (from tax revenues collected on behalf of the Palestinians), saying the Palestinians will take measures in accordance with their interest. He did not provide details about the nature of the measures the Palestinians were planning.
“We won’t allow anyone to interfere with the money [that is paid to the prisoners and families of “martyrs],” Abbas stressed. “They are our martyrs and prisoners and the injured and we will continue to pay them. We started the payments in 1965.””
BBC audiences have not seen any coverage of that statement (along with a vow to reject the anticipated US peace plan before it has even been made public) from Mahmoud Abbas.
As was noted here at the time, the BBC’s report did not inform readers that on the same day as the Israeli law was passed, Australia announced that it had “ended direct aid to the Palestinian Authority over fears its donations will be used to pay Palestinians convicted of terrorism and their families”.
The following day senior Palestinian Authority official Nabil Shaath (who is Abbas’ advisor on Foreign Affairs and International Relations) gave his reaction to that announcement on official PA TV. The Australian reported that Shaath stated:
“Australia’s decision about transferring $10 million angered me greatly. That’s all that Australia pays — $10 million that it pays to us, to the PA, through the international bank,” he said.
“(Australia) said that it transferred (the aid) to the UN Children’s Fund, UNICEF, so that it would not serve the payment of the salaries of the (martyrs and prisoners’) families.
“In other words, the truth is they are worthy of being spat on. You (Australians) are the servants of the US. No decision is made without Australia voting as the US votes — sometimes only these three vote: Israel, America and Australia …
“We do not want to declare war on Australia. But it cannot be, in other words, sometimes there is insolence that is impossible (to accept). I don’t want your $10 million. I don’t want to chase after them.””
Unsurprisingly, BBC audiences have seen no reporting on that story either.