In recent months, both PA Deputy Minister of Prisoners' Affairs and the head of the Prisoners' Club have reiterated that prisoners' salaries are high priority for the PA and are treated and paid like all salaries to PA civil servants.
Palestinian Media Watch's reports on the PA's payment of salaries to prisoners, among them terrorists, have generated debates in both Norway and the UK.
The PA Deputy Minister of Prisoners' Affairs Ziyad Abu Ein responded to the possibility of losing donor funding due to PMW reports exposing these payments. He stressed that "the prisoners are our joy":
PA TV host: "How were the prisoners' salaries and allowances affected by the economic crisis in Palestine?"
Chairman of the Prisoners' Club, Qadura Fares: "All in all, we are in the same situation as others. What is spent on the prisoners is exactly what is spent on me and you. These are salaries (rawatib). Therefore, when the salaries are paid to those working in government offices and institutions, they will also be paid to the prisoners."
Recently, PMW reported on the PA's glorification of one such prisoner who should be receiving a salary from the PA: Issa Abd Rabbo, who murdered two Israeli students who were hiking near Jerusalem.
Commenting on the debates generated by PMW reports in Norway and the UK, the PA Deputy Minister accused Israel of inciting against the PA. "This is a kind of incitement... an attempt to inflame world opinion against the Palestinians,' he said, complaining that European countries are debating their aid to the PA:
"Israel supports and finances comprehensive activity in Europe; to be precise, in England, Norway and Belgium, for stopping the financial support and assistance to the PA and for fighting against the issue of the prisoners, who [Israel] describes as terrorists and suicide [bombers]."
www.regjeringen.no, Feb. 21, 2013]
In a press release following a meeting of the AHLC group of donor countries a few weeks later, Norwegian Foreign Minister Eide announced that the PA will receive more funding this year than it did last year:
"Overall budget support [to the PA] for this year will increase substantially, and it looks as if the contributions will be sufficient to cover the budget deficit of USD 1.2 billion. This is a significant improvement on 2012."
www.regjeringen.no, March 19, 2013]
However, the Norwegian Foreign Minister also stated that the AHLC donor group would have to reconsider its continued support if no progress is made in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict:
www.regjeringen.no, March 19, 2013]
Norway and Britain have requested more information about the support program for prisoners, and are currently awaiting the PA's answer.
Click to see PMW's four reports on the PA's payments of salaries to terrorists.
To review how the story has been developing in Norway:
Click to see the debate in Norway generated by PMW's findings, the responses of Norwegian MPs, and the Parliamentary Committee investigation questioning why the Foreign Ministry did not give the correct information to parliament earlier.
Click to see how the Parliamentary Committee expressed dissatisfaction with the Foreign Minister's first answer, and how the Foreign Minister in his second letter admitted that the PA has special support program for prisoners, including terrorists, in Israel.
Click to see the Parliamentary Committee's request to receive further information about what other investigations the Foreign Ministry performed pertaining to the issue and how the Foreign Minister's answer to that request prompted the Committee to consider a Parliamentary hearing.
Click to see the UK Parliament debate of PMW's findings about PA hate incitement and UK's funding of the PA.
The following is the interview with PA Deputy Minister of Prisoners' Affairs, Ziyad Abu Ein:
Headline: "Norway extends emergency aid to the PA"