red cross

Terrorists imprisoned before October 7 are also sending renewal forms via the Red Cross to Ramallah.

By Sveta Listratov, TPS

Since October 7, the International Red Cross has been helping imprisoned Palestinian terrorists receive controversial terror stipends from the Palestinian Authority, a watchdog organization accuses.

According to Palestinian Media Watch, incarcerated Palestinians fill out forms to receive the “pay for slay” stipends and the Red Cross delivers the paperwork to Ramallah.

“The role of the International Red Cross in this process is central,” PMW director Itamar Marcus explained to the Tazpit Press Service. “The international health organization is involved in this because as they visit prisoners, they’re able to bring in forms. Israeli security is not looking at the forms or preventing the terrorist prisoner access to the forms they need to sign.”

The prisoners’ paperwork needs to be completed by the end of 2023 in order to receive stipends in 2024. Terrorists imprisoned before October 7 are also sending renewal forms via the Red Cross to Ramallah.

A copy of Fatah directives dated December 4 and translated by PMW instructed Palestinians to “please produce a [International Red] Cross document for those who have no sentence whose names appear below; a [International Red] Cross document accompanied by a new administrative [detention] order for the administrative detainees; and a [International Red] Cross document accompanied by a verdict for the sentenced prisoners.”

Lists of prisoners from Bethlehem and Hebron districts were circulated on social media to encourage prisoners and their families to claim the payouts. Other Palestinian organizations, such as the Palestine Liberation Organization’s Commission of Prisoners’ Affairs joined the publicity campaign.

Since October 7, around 2,400 Palestinian terror suspects have been arrested throughout Judea and Samaria, of whom about half are associated with Hamas.

Israelis say the payouts are nothing more than economic incentives for murder and refer to the stipends as “pay for slay.”

The International Red Cross did not respond to queries from the Tazpit Press Service. Israelis, particularly the families of the hostages, have criticized the Red Cross for not doing more to get access to their loved ones, deliver medicine, and check on their well-being.

The Israeli Prison Service is overseen by Minister of National Security Itamar Ben-Gvir. His spokesman, Issachar Zalmanovitz, told TPS, “According to Minister Ben Gvir’s policy, there is no salary distribution, no deposits in the prison, and no visits to security prisoners. The Minister has canceled the distribution of 400 shekels to each security prisoner.”

Asked about the Red Cross’s involvement in facilitating the payouts, Zalmanovitz responded, “The Red Cross is a very problematic organization.”

PMW’s Marcus told TPS, “If Israel were to condition the Red Cross access to the Palestinian prisoners with Hamas granting access to these Israeli hostages, the impact could be monumental.”

He added, “Any hostages who would be visited by the Red Cross and their condition documented, would make it very difficult for Hamas to subsequently injure or murder them.”

Pay for Slay

According to Palestinian Authority regulations, terrorists in Israeli prisons are entitled to receive monthly stipends which start at 1,400 shekels ($387) per month. Over time, the payouts escalate to 12,000 shekels ($2,990) monthly.

Terrorists who are married with children receive even higher payouts.

Furthermore, the PA also pays monthly benefits to the families of terrorists who were killed while attacking Israelis. Families of recognized “martyrs” receive a grant of 6,000 shekels ($1,500) and lifelong monthly stipend of 1,400 shekels ($350).

The number of Hamas terrorists killed in Gaza who Ramallah would recognize as “martyrs” is not clear. The Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry puts the overall death toll at around 20,000. That number is not independently verified and Hamas has not been transparent about the breakdown of civilian and terrorist casualties.

Marcus told TPS in October that the PA will pay nearly $3 million to the families of Hamas terrorists who were killed in the initial October 7 attacks on southern Israeli communities.

Despite the bitter rivalry between Fatah and Hamas, the Palestinian Authority finds ways to make payments to Hamas terrorists, Marcus said.

Jerusalem regularly offsets an equivalent amount from taxes that Israel collects on behalf of the Palestinian Authority.

A comparison of the amount of U.S. aid provided to the Palestinian Authority with the number of people killed in Palestinian terror attacks found that American financial support “fuels terror, not peace,” according to a PMW study released in March.

Ramallah has been making the payouts for years. But the issue came under scrutiny following the 2016 murder of US citizen Taylor Force.

Force’s murder became a high profile because Force was killed in Jaffa while then-Vice President Joe Biden was meeting with former Israeli President Shimon Peres at a nearby location. The terrorist, Bashar Masalha was killed by responding security personnel, but reports later surfaced that his family in Qalqilya was receiving special payouts from the PA.

At least 1,200 people were killed in Hamas’s attacks on Israeli communities near the Gaza border on Oct. 7. The number of men, women, children, soldiers and foreigners held captive in Gaza by Hamas is now believed to be 129. Other people remain unaccounted for as Israeli authorities continue to identify bodies and search for human remains.