Sunday, November 20, 2022

Muhammad Murad Souf, the terrorist who murdered three Israeli fathers last week in Ariel, may have been motivated by the Palestinian Authority's program of paying salaries to the families of terrorists, known as "pay for slay."

According to a fawning biography at Safa Palestinian News Agency, "Fate chose the 19-year-old martyr Souf, from the town of Haris, to be the sole breadwinner for his family after the death of his father, and he chose to end his life as a martyr in a commando operation that will be immortalized in history."

The article goes on to quote Souf's mother, saying,"May God be pleased with him. He left school to support us after his father died, and he was responsible for all the expenses of the house." 

"His life was from the mosque to the house and from home to work, and he had no time for fun except for the time he spent when his friends visited him at home," his mother added.

The article notes that Souf's father died when he was in the tenth grade. He quit school to find work and support his mother and seven siblings. Muhammad was no the oldest sibling; his oldest brother Sami was already in law school at An-Najah University, which left Muhammad to become the breadwinner at around 16.

Souf first worked for Israelis at the Barkan industrial park, and then he got a job at a detergent factory at the Ariel industrial park.

One can only imagine the pressure that Muhammad felt to take care of his family, of his bitterness at missing out on enjoying his teenage years, at the little prospect of a happy marriage when he would have more mouths to feed, and at his older brother staying in school while he was forced to leave to become a common laborer.

"Martyrdom" sounds like a very attractive alternative, especially knowing that his family would no longer have to worry about affording to live. Palestinian Law No. 14, Articles 1 and 2, enacted by the PA in 2004, says that Soufs' family will receive a pension for life equivalent to triple the average West Bank salary. 

That would be about 97,500 shekels a year, forever. 

It is likely far higher than Souf's salary at Barkan, which was probably not much above Israel's minimum wage of 64,000 shekels a year (which in turn is still double the average Palestinian worker salary in the West Bank.)

If "Pay for Slay" didn't exist, would Muhammad Souf have wanted to risk his family losing their main means of support?

Given the choice of a thankless future doing manual labor and few prospects for any improvement on one hand, and an easy way to guarantee his family's financial security on the other hand - together with the knowledge that he would be instantly transformed into a national hero - is it any wonder that Souf chose to kill Jews and achieve martyrdom and paradise?

The Palestinian law paying "martyrs" is almost certainly responsible for the deaths of Tamir Avihai, Michael Ladygin and Motti Ashkenazi.

It is also notable that Souf went on Hajj recently, based on his photo. A 19-year old breadwinner for a family of 8 would no doubt find that difficult to afford. In retrospect, this looks like a "bucket list" item, an achievement that the religious Souf would want to earn before he dies. Israeli intelligence may want to look at the Palestinians who make the pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia to see if any of them are doing it beyond their means, as this may be an indication that they are also planning on a future windfall for their families.






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