PA funds security prisoners with Israel's approval, right-wing group claims

Recently revealed documents allegedly show Prison Service allows PA to transfer monthly stipends to prisoners serving time for terror offences in Israeli jails, circumventing counterterrorism law; Justice Ministry denies wrongdoing

Elisha Ben Kimon|
The Palestinian Authority transfers funds to security prisoners in Israel with the approval of Israeli authorities, a right-wing advocacy group claimed on Monday.
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  • The group made the claim after allegedly seeing a contract, apparently signed between the Prison Authority and the Israeli Postal Company, exempting the latter from legal repercussions for funding prisoners convicted for terror offenses.
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    A Palestinian jailed for security offenses in July
    (Photo: Alex Kolomoisky)
    The Justice Ministry said the funding of Palestinian prisoners was conducted in accordance with the law.
    "All funding for prisoners goes through the Israel Prison Service which acts as their trustee. The contract with the Postal Company had been formalized after careful consideration and authorized by legal authorities," it said.
    The contract outlines the postal service's concern that funds funneled through its banking service to Palestinian prisoners may constitute a violation of the counterterrorism law.
    The legislation was passed in 2016 and forbids funding for convicts serving time for offenses against national security, with a penalty of up to 10 years in jail.
    The contract was made available after Lavi — a group that advocates for the rights of Jewish settlers in the West Bank — petitioned the courts.
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    A prison guard at the gate of a prison ward housing Palestinians convicted of national security offenses
    (Photo: Israel Prison Service)
    Thousands of Palestinians serve jail sentences for national security offenses in Israel, including members of Fatah, formerly the Palestinian National Liberation Organization, and the Hamas terrorist group.
    Like all other prisoners, they are permitted to receive hundreds of shekels each month for use in the prison canteen. Some of the funds come from family members but NIS 400 are allegedly transferred from the Palestinian Authority as stipends for acts of terror committed.
    Morris Hirsch, a lawyer with the Palestinian Media Watch group which monitors Palestinian media for anti-Israeli and anti-Jewish incitement, said his organization has been sounding the alarm over the PA's funding for years.
    "It is inconceivable that the Prison Service would disregard the letter of the law in order to keep the peace in its facilities."
    The advocacy groups claimed the unveiled documents show that NIS 100,000,000 was transferred by the Palestinian Authority to prison canteens between 2017 and 2019 for prisoners' use.
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