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Tuesday, March 03, 2009

The Gaza money immediately goes to terrorists

Yesterday's "donor's conference" may have been a bonanza for Hamas, but it was also a win for the Palestinian Authority.

A percentage of the $4.4 billion raised - it is unclear exactly how much - is not going directly towards Gaza at all, but to help prop up the PA. $600m of the American pledge of $900m is going to the PA to help its own budget woes as well as for new West Bank projects.

Did the PA rush to announce the building of new hospitals, or schools? Perhaps a new R&D facility or industrial park?

Not quite. The first press release following the donors conference announced that the PLO will give an extra bonus of to known terrorists:
Nablus – Ma’an – An extra 800 shekels (190 US dollars) will be added to the stipend’s given to Palestinians in Israeli prisons this month, Head of Palestinian Prisoner Society in Nablus Ra’ed Amer confirmed on Tuesday.

Each prisoner receives 1000 shekels (238 US dollars) per month, plus an extra 300 shekels (71 US dollars) if they are married, and an extra 50 shekels (12 US dollars) for each child. The stipend is paid by the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) each month.

There are currently 4,500 men and women registered as prisoners in Israeli prisons. The increase will be applied to February’s payment, set to go through banks this week.

Amer explained that the increase was made following the instructions of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
Yes, every terrorist in an Israeli jail - people who drove suicide bombers to blow up women and children, people who ordered "martyrdom operations," people who attacked any Jew they could find - gets thousands of dollars annually from the cash-strapped PA, which of course gets its money from successful donors conferences like yesterday's. Every year they get about $16 million, assuming an average of $300 per prisoner per month. And in February alone, they get an additional $855,000.

This is money only for living terrorists. It does not count the stipend that the families of suicide bombers and other "martyrs" get in perpetuity, which together with the prisoner money was estimated in 2005 at being up to $100 million annually.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia pledged $1 billion. In the past, Gulf nations have been big on pledges for their Palestinian Arab brethren and very bad at actually paying up. They don't trust the PA to spend the money wisely. If they trust Hamas more, they cannot quite say that out loud. In this case, the Saudis want to spend the money however they see fit:
Prince Saud said “Saudi Arabia has set up a mechanism to submit its share via the Saudi Development Fund in cooperation with the Islamic Development Bank and Gaza-based international organizations, to send the required materials, and to choose the projects which will be implemented.”

On Sunday, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states, which pledged a total of $1.6 billion on Sunday, decided to set up an office in Gaza to carry out reconstruction over five years, by deciding on and implementing projects.

“In this context, we hope that the GCC-launched Gaza reconstruction program would contribute to coordination and follow-up of execution by its funded projects,” Prince Saud said.
Will this money go directly towards terror groups? Well, one hint comes from the one guarantee that the Saudis seek before giving the money:
The foreign minister called upon the international community to guarantee the reconstruction effort by making Israel “bear the legal and financial consequences of any aggression, and not to view the situation with double standards.”
In other words, if Hamas shoots a few thousand more rockets at Israel, Saudi Arabia is demanding that Israel cannot defend itself - period. Hamas, however, has no limitations on its own behavior - they get the money for free.

And what do the residents of Sderot get from the international community for damage to their town and millions of cumulative sleepless nights? So far, one very generous donation of - Legos.