Pay for slay: Western countries help finance odious Palestinian program that pays terrorists who kill civilians

January 21, 2021 • 9:45 am

I’ve written before about the Palestinian Territory’s policy of “Pay for Slay”, one of the most odious policies I know of. The program consists of the Palestinian Authority giving generous payments (often for a lifetime) to those Palestinians who get caught committing terrorism against Israel and are either killed or put in Israeli prisons. (They often justify it as reward for fighting the enemy, but the “enemy” often consists of Israeli citizens, including women and children.

If a Palestinian kills or injures an Israeli in an act of terrorism, or simply commits a non-murderous act like terrorist arson, he or she get a comfortable wage, and, if you get out of prison, a good job and other benefits in Palestine. (The amount you get goes up with the heinous nature of the crime; murder is the most compensated act.)

This is, of course, financing and encouraging terrorism, including the murder of many Israeli civilians. One of those civilians is highlighted in the article below: Dafna Meir, a nurse and a premarital counselor, who had four children and two foster children. For no reason beyond her being Israeli, she was stabbed to death by a 15 year old Palestinian terrorist in 2016, who was jailed in a children’s facility (now transferred to an adult prison). That adolescent, a killer, is now 20, and his monthly wage is $401 for life, along with a one-time “martyr” payment of $1719.  In a few years he’ll be making more than the average Palestinian citizen.

It’s even worse, for many countries, including much of the European Union, finances this “pay for slay” program by giving aid money directly to Palestine. A few countries (including Australia, Norway, and the U.S.) have cut down their contributions to Palestine because of this program, but much of the EU simply gives aid to Palestine that can be used to pay terrorist’s “martyr pensions”. Those pensions constitute  about 7% of the total Palestinian budget: or about $355 million per year (in 2017).

It is unconscionable that Europe finances terrorism this way, and doesn’t seem overly concerned with how the money is used. They could, as the U.S. did during the Trump administration—the Obama administration, unfortunately, helped underwrite Pay for Slay by giving direct aid to Palestine on the order of $300-400 million per year—cut back on the amount of money they give to Palestine, and ensure that all that aid money is used for constructive projects, not terrorism. This is what the U.S. does now, and I hope Biden doesn’t reverse that policy.

Even so, the money that the U.S. gives to Palestine to, say, build schools, still frees up money that the Palestinian government might have used for such projects, making more money available for Pay for Slay.

I emphasize again how immoral it is to finance terrorists to kill civilians like Dafna Meir. This is most likely a war crime.

Click to read the story, and realize that if you’re in a country that gives unrestricted aid to Palestine, your government is underwriting this kind of murder.

Below is a graphs showing how much money you get as an incarcerated Palestinian for committing acts of terrorism against Israel (“regular” crimes like robbery are not rewarded). If you’re killed during your terrorist act, your family gets paid, too.

I’m not sure why terrorists who are Jerusalem and Israeli residents get a bonus, but it’s amazing that Israel allows its own citizens to collect “pay for slay” money. You get the salary for life, even if released, if you serve at least five years in prison as a man or two as a woman. And you don’t have to kill Israelis, either. You can get the dosh if you commit terrorist attacks on anybody visiting Israel, including Americans like U.S. Army veteran Taylor Force, stabbed to death at age 28 by a terrorist while Force was on a visit. Also killed, with their murders getting Palestinian payments, are citizens of the UK, France, the Netherlands, Australia, and Russia.

Here’s what you get if you’re jailed for terrorism. Note the supplements if you have a wife and child (70% of those convicted, though, are single). You can even receive the money in prison, put in a bank account, or have it given to your family.

If you die during your attack, your family gets $1560 and a monthly payment of at least $364.

As the graph below shows, the amount you get above the “base payment” increases with time served. The killer of Dafna Meir, having passed his five-year stint, now has his stipend doubled and also gets his stipend for life.  The average salary of a Palestinian worker is $765 a month, or $9180 per year, so after you’re in prison for five years, besides getting free room and board, you’re making more than your average Palestinian. And that doesn’t include the one-time payments or supplements for children and wives. The payments are also higher the more odious the crime. 

Finally, as I noted, released terrorists are given priority for employment. As one source reports:

Once released, prisoners are given priority for employment. Any male ex-prisoner incarcerated for 10 or more years, and female who served five years, is entitled to a position in the PA [Palestinian Authority]. All former prisoners’ social security and pension fees are paid according to the number of years they spent in jail. If their salary is lower than what they received in prison, the PA makes up the difference and, if a prisoner cannot be employed, they are still entitled to a monthly salary, disability payments and death benefits payable to their families (Douglas J. Feith & Sander Gerber, “The Department of Pay-for-Slay,” Commentary, March 15, 2017; Thane Rosenbaum, “Palestinians are rewarding terrorists. The U.S. should stop enabling them,” Washington Post, April 30, 2017).

And get this:

According to the Director of the ‎Commission of Prisoners and Released Prisoners’ Affairs, Qadri Abu Bakr, a prisoner can receive a prisoner’s ‎salary after their release and do nothing. He said, “We have 7,000-8,000 ‎released prisoners who are receiving a salary like this.”‎

Though idle, they still qualify for benefits. ‎“Every prisoner who is released after a year is eligible to study at university ‎and also carpentry, metalworking, and the like,” said Abu Bakr. “Any profession that we can ‎cover for him. We are also covering dental treatment up to 5,000 [Israeli] ‎shekels. We cover implants.”

Implants! I just got paid big bucks for one. But you get them free if you commit terrorism against Israel!

Every American, especially those who see Palestine as a virtuous land of the oppressed, should know about this program, which violates every tenet of human decency. I hope Biden doesn’t resume unrestricted payments to Palestine, and I have to say that restricting those payments so they don’t finance terrorism was one of the few good things accomplished by the Trump administration.

Sources for the data in this post come from here, here, here, here, here, and here.  It need hardly be added that the U.S. mainstream media, which tilts towards Palestine, does not often report on this travesty. The New York Times did publish a heartening article in November saying that, to court Biden, the Palestinians are considering cutting back on these payments (there will still be payments), for Democrats are not all that keen on “pay for slay”. (I’m betting, though, that the Squad isn’t opposed to the program.)

33 thoughts on “Pay for slay: Western countries help finance odious Palestinian program that pays terrorists who kill civilians

  1. This is most likely a war crime.

    As my late history teacher used to say, just an observation, not a judgement: Could one have the same discussion about war crimes as about hate crimes?

    I seriously doubt that any EU politician thinks that that is a good idea. Rather, there is the catch-22: do we support them financially, even though all such support indirectly frees up money for bad stuff like this, or cut off support, leaving that to Saudia Arabia or other nations which probably have less desire to end such practices?

    Similarly, one could claim that all countries which, when forced to choose (by mainland China), choose mainland China over Taiwan as the country to have diplomatic relations with, are morally despicable. As Brecht said, erst das Fressen, dann die Moral (first get fed, then think about morality).

    1. For decades Arab countries payed minuscule amounts to Palestinians. The bulk of payments came from the West. Donations from Arab countries went up a bit when US stopped paying, but went down again to almost zero from March 2020 (the exception is Qatar, but they are giving money only to Gaza, not to the Palestinian Authority).
      BTW, this video is well worth watching:

  2. As I’ve said many times before: imagine if this was happening to the US, or an EU country, etc., or to anyone but Jews. The outrage would be everywhere and all over the media, throughout the halls of the UN and academia. Hell, just imagine if the roles were reversed, and it was Israel that was doling out this “pay for slay” of Palestinian civilians and civilians who visit Palestine.

    The constant double standard to which Israel is held is absolutely astounding, especially considering that it was less than 80 years ago that the world’s Jewish population was nearly wiped out by death camps, and Western (not to mention all other) nations did nothing about it. It’s not as if any nation entered the War to protect the Jews being slaughtered. In fact, before Hitler enacted his “Final Solution,” he asked every government he could (including the US and European nations) to take as many or any Jews from Germany, and they all refused. This was after Jews were already being herded into ghettos, having all their possessions and property revoked, and the pogroms began. All of our countries knew that the Jews in Germany and the countries Germany rolled through were being oppressed and what the likely next step would be, but nobody even bothered to take in Jewish political refugees, to say nothing of trying to stop the Holocaust. The European nations were forced into the War, and the US only joined once it was attacked by Japan.

    But now Jews are considered too privileged and not suffering from racism, despite experiencing the most hate crimes per capita by a long shot and having such a recent history of genocide committed against them. The critical theory discussion around Jews and Jewish identity really makes my blood boil.

  3. Apologies if this is a duplicate, I think my previous attempt to comment got hung up in the intertubes.

    I’m not sure why terrorists who are Jerusalem and Israeli residents get a bonus

    My guess would be it’s because the Palestine authorities view attacks on Jewish Israelis by Muslim Israelis, and attacks in Jerusalem, are more meaningful, thus they incentivize them with more money. (Follow-on thought: perhaps because those groups are more likely to cooperate with their neighbors, and Palestine wants to oppose such cooperation as it might lead to [gasp!] peace.)

    I’m not sure there’s a good answer to the ‘fungibility of money’ problem. The US has this issue any time we want to provide humanitarian aid to people under the thumb of some authoritarian or corrupt regime: giving regular people food or resources frees up the regime to shift their resources towards other things we don’t want them to do.

    One way to address it is to attach strings to our money. But if we do that, we’d better be willing to cut off aid if our bluff gets called. I think in many situations, we aren’t willing to do that. Either because we think the downsides from cutting off aid are worse than the downsides of having some resources go to bad behavior (example: if we cut off aid to Palestine, and China offers them the same aid with no moral strings attached, we’ve just lost influence in the region without any benefit in reducing bad behavior), or because Congressional disagreement makes actually cutting off aid politically hard to do.

  4. One of the axioms of Critical Woke Left Theory is that the Arabs were the native human species in the British Palestine Mandate, having evolved there from some earlier hominin during the Lower Paleolithic. The same doctrine holds that the existence of the state of Israel, and its economic and technological accomplishments, is an example of “Western colonialism”; and the fact that the Nazis did not kill all the Jews of Europe, just a measly 2/3 or so, is a case of “white privilege”.

    1. You pretty much nailed it, but I would add a couple of additional axioms:

      1) One must never remember that 3/4 of that British Mandate is the Palestinian Arab state of Jordan, made expressly as a Judenrein homeland for Palestinian Arabs and populated almost exclusively by Palestinian Arabs.

      2) Israel is evidently the only nation in modern history which did not have legal and defined borders when it was established, because in the case of Israel, its borders are defined by Arab interests and popular opinion, and not valid International law.

      1. “…its borders are defined by Arab interests and popular opinion…”

        And the multiple wars its neighbors started with it, but then lost and now complain about the small amount of land they lost in the process.

    2. Cite please?
      I don’t like wokeism either, but it seems a bit of a straw man to claim they have abandoned the ‘out of Africa’ anthropological concept for an ‘out of Palestine’ one.

      state of Israel, and its economic and technological accomplishments, is an example of “Western colonialism”

      It’s certainly the case that the UN and the British were instrumental in setting up the state of Israel – the former came up with the partition plan, and the latter was the country in charge of the territory at the time and the ones who assented to the plan, while non of the surrounding arab nations agreed to it. There is no sense in pretending otherwise.

      The question of what we do now, to make a better world for everyone, however, is rarely as simple as “all recent immigrants/invaders (depending on your perspective) give the land back and leave.” Whether it’s the Americas, Australia, or the Mediterranean coast of the middle east, that sort of solution seems to be tenable for maybe a generation at most. After that, not so much. The region is stuck with both groups, and we have to make the best of that, not evict one group because of what their great-grandparents did.

      1. The UN had precisely zero to do with the “setting up” of Israel. The UN Partition Plan had zero to do with the creation of Israel, or the borders of Israel.

        Israel was created by the votes of every nation belonging the the League of Nations, as well as by International treaties.

      2. I don’t like wokeism either, but it seems a bit of a straw man to claim they have abandoned the ‘out of Africa’ anthropological concept for an ‘out of Palestine’ one.

        The tongue-in-cheek smiley was forgotten. 😐

        However, with the absurd stuff coming out of the woke, it wouldn’t surprise me if someone actually believed that.

  5. Is there any other government on Earth that pays its citizens for the terrorist murder of children? Is there any worse possible thing? Does this single fact make the PA the worst society in the world? Because I can not get around the idea that I think it does.

  6. This “pay for slay” scheme is too terrible that it sounds implausible at face value. The numbers sound like it’s well-known, with figures and all, and yet European countries are funding them, likewise, out in the open. If Germany, say, was funding such schemes, it would cause a massive scandal and would be all over the news and talk shows. But to the best of my search engine skills, it wasn‘t.

    For reference, funding was suspended over various affairs. One instance was because a palestinian school was named after a terrorist, leading Norway to pull out, then the UN. Another was education funding being cut when it was discovered that the books in questions contained hateful anti-Israel messages.

    Looking for plausible keywords for “pay for slay” indeed bring up a few news articles about financial aid being used to fund Palestinian terrorism, in reputable news sites (TAZ, SZ, Welt) — that run the gamut from left to right, but none are scandalous, or pressing. They refer as source to one Yossi Kuperwasser, a former military intelligence officer, and now a director at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. He has apparently reported these findings in a 2017 book titled “Incentivizing Terrorism: Palestinian Authority Allocations to Terrorists and Their Families”, which was later raised to authorities by one “Mideast Freedom Forum”, which led to other reporting.

    I want to stress that the truth of these allegations is independent of sources, but the silence of outcry make me question their reputation. Wikipedia brings some (sourced) context, the “Mideast Freedom Forum” must be seen as Far Right, supportive of UKIP, EDL, freeing Tommy Robinson, and promoting “Arizona’s most controversial member of Congress” Paul Gosar, a hardcore Trumpist, who lobbied to overturn election results. Kuperwasser is a director at the “Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs” which is described as a neo-conservative think tank.

    When brought to the attention to the German authorities responsible for foreign aid, they dismiss these allegations with reference to funds being tied to specific projects, and oversight how the funds are being used.

    “Incentivizing Terrorism: Palestinian Authority Allocations to Terrorists and Their Families”, May 15, 2017 by Brig.-Gen. (Res.) Yossi Kuperwasser also here:
    Welt, Palästinas Autonomiebehörde: 3000 Euro monatlich für verurteilte Terroristen, May 30, 2017
    Study is cited by the Mideast Freedom Forum, leading to this entry:
    TAZ, Studie: Fast 300 Millionen Euro für palästinensische “Märtyrer”, Oct 19, 2018

    1. I’m not sure I understood this comment correctly but if it is suggesting (as it seems to me) that there is no such scheme to pay murderers and their families because sources giving the data are right wing then I suggest the Palestinian sources: their budget, their published rules for paying depending on the length of the sentence, amounts etc. These documents exist and until PMW started to cry aloud about it they were openly published by Palestinian Authority. Now it’s a bit more difficult to find the data in Palestinian published budget because they try to hide them but it’s still possible. PMW bases all their data on Palestinian sources. Of course, when one studies Palestinian ideology it is far-far-right.

      1. I am not in the position to determine whether or not such schemes exist, and I stressed that sources are independent of the veracity of such claims. However, after a quite extensive search spree, there is only one person cited as the source and apparently not taken all too seriously. This is merely what I saw, and I looked because this story sounded too big and terrible for it being that underreported.

          1. But it isn’t big as far as scandal and news are concerned. The Wiki article of yours also centrally cites Yossi Kuperwasser again, is only in English and Hebrew (again, not big), and does not establish that the EU is funding bounty kills of Jews.

            1. So, isn’t the question you should be asking, “why doesn’t the media, academia, the UN, etc., care about this,” rather than, “why should I believe this is true if the media, academia, UN, etc. aren’t talking about this”?

              That’s the big news here: that this isn’t considered news. That very few people seem to care.

              “…does not establish that the EU is funding bounty kills of Jews.” I feel like you’re being intentionally obtuse about this at this point. Of course they’re not directly giving money to some martyr’s fund. Of course they’re not announcing in their annual budgets “[$x] in aid to pay for slay programs.” They just know that money they give goes to those funds, and they don’t care/they feel that’s acceptable.

        1. Sources for the claims are cited here;, here;, here;, here; and here;

          Why don’t you look at the evidence they’ve adduced from the Palestinian Authority itself then decide if their politics are too far right for you to believe the evidence they’ve reported on.

          The reason you haven’t heard much about this is the same reason few have; it upsets the narrative.

          1. I have, but it’s a lot easier to find the evidence from Israeli or Jewish sources, as the Palestinians try to hide the data.

            I’m not sure what you’re saying. Do you doubt any of those statistics, which come from multiple sources? And if you think that you can discount data based on the nature of the “politics” of the source, well, that’s not the way I operate. I rely on cross-checking data from multiple sources, and the track reccord of a source.

            If you’re that doubtful of the data, please do your own investigation and let me know where I’ve adduced incorrect data.

        2. Aneris, you are being deliberately obtuse. Did you see my citation to a New York Times article noting that the Pay for Slay program exists? It’s at the end of my piece, here:

          What do you say about that? The argument that a program doesn’t exist because the mainstream news doesn’t make a big deal about it (but admit it exists) is a very strange argument. Even the PA admits its exists. You’d be well off to admit that you’re wrong instead of holding to an untenable argument for whatever reason you have. There are of course reasons why liberal media don’t emphasize it. You might ask yourself why you won’t believe the Israeli media. Are they making it up–all those figures they adduce? They even handle the money for the Palestinians, giving it to prisoners.

          1. Apologies, couldn’t get back to this earlier. I don’t think I am obtuse. The ties between Israel and the EU are strong and close, in particular to Germany (for historical, cultural, but now also economical reasons). Further, the “Zentralrat der Juden” (central representation of Jews in Germany) are frequently heard in the evening news. In particular conservatives, also for historical reasons, emphasises the friendship with Israel, and Merkel is in charge for an eternity. There is only one minor caveat. Merkel is very centrist for a conservative, and apparently not much of a fan of Netanyahu. This means Jewish concerns are not ignored. They will be, and are, picked up also by the media. Like elsewhere, the concerns of the PA are more heard by the left and leftist NGOs. They are nowhere near as influential or vocal as the Israel side.

            With that established, I was surprised to read that it was “even worse, for many countries, including much of the European Union, finances this “pay for slay” program by giving aid money directly to Palestine. […] It is unconscionable that Europe finances terrorism this way, and doesn’t seem overly concerned with how the money is used.”

            Still at face value at this point, you see that this picture is incongruent. Since I wasn’t aware of the political crisis triggered by this issue, I checked the news to see what happened and how politics responded.

            Indeed, there is no silence on such matters. I found news about freezing particular funds to Palestine, for instance, because educational material was found containing antisemitism. In October 2019, leftist NGOs (affiliated with the Green Party) were alleged to have given aid to another organisation in Palestine where the murderer of Rina Shnerb was employed. The teenage girl was killed in a terror attack in August 2019. This makes news. Therefore, there is no “narrative” as one commenter wrote or conspiracy that would sweep such things under the carpet.

            There is no dispute that the PA gets foreign aid. There is also no dispute that they use money to pay funds to surviving dependents even of terrorists, i.e. this “matyr program”. What remains are whether Europe doesn’t care that significant sums cause perverse incentives to murder Jews, the role of this “pay for slay” scheme in particular and its size.

            I looked into that, and sources given all lead to Yossi Kuperwasser, as I wrote above. In response, reader JezGrove above gave another link, leading to the Washington Post, which says:

            “the Israeli government does not even have its own official estimate. The government instead relies on research done by Yossi Kuperwasser, a former director-general of the Strategic Affairs Ministry (appointed by Netanyahu) who now works as a scholar at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. […] Upon close examination, one can understand why the secret State Department figure is not as high as the Israeli claim. But an exact figure is elusive.”

            This does not sound like a ringing endorsement, either, and is parsimonous with the news articles in German media, just as I wrote above, and the gist was they do “ensure that all that aid money is used for constructive projects, not terrorism”

            Finally I must address a double standard. I put a very high bar on military interventions, liberation, occupation, freedom fighting, terrorism, however framed, and categorically reject intentions in matters of war. Death of cilivians should always be reviewed by judges. Since Palestine is no state, they can’t can have soldiers who can legally murder people, or pardon them after they commited a massacre. But here is the rub, neither Israel nor the US, with a handful of states, accept the ICC. The USA also has an “The Hague Invasion Act”. Meaning, their soliders or even private mercenaries can do whatever they want, and get paid, too, and cannot even be tried in the Hague, or the US would even invade Europe.

            1. I will touch only two points of your comment.

              1. The information about “pay for slay”, taken from Palestinian documents, is systematically, year after year, compiled by reasearchers from Palestinian Media Watch and their data are the most reliable.

              2. The problem of Germany: for all beautiful words by Merkel and people from her government when it comes to voting in UN on resolutions which condemn Israel (for everything possible under the sun, inclusive for the fact that Palestinian men are beating their wives) Germany is always voting either for the resolution or abstains from voting. Never a “no” vote. For example, In 2020, Germany voted 13 times to condemn Israel, but failed to introduce a single resolution on the human rights situation in Cuba, China, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Pakistan, Venezuela — or on 175 other countries, according to UN Watch, a Geneva-based, independent non-governmental watchdog group.
              Germany is also the big donor to all kinds of anti-Israeli NGOS, it finances anti-Israeli films, books etc. When you look what Germany actually does, those beautiful words sound very hollow.

        3. In the video I gave link to in previous comment you can see the President of Palestinian Autonomy, Mahmoud Abbas, talking about payments to “our prisoners and martyrs”. The whole video is worth watching as there is plenty of evidence (from PA) how they glorify and cherish people who murdered Jewish civilians. Here you can read the translation from Arabic of diverse documents published by Palestinian Authority about this scheme (of course, they do not call it “pay for slay”): If you doubt that MEMRI translated the documents correctly (it is translated correctly but I noticed that for you if something comes from American or Israeli sources it’s automatically suspicious) you could find an Arabic speaker and ask for verification. There are tons of documents from Arab sources which show that this scheme exists and that millions of dollars from the West are tranfered to killers of Jews.

          1. I did not doubt antisemtism, zeal or religious fervour and resulting terrorism, that it is glorified, nor that the PA pays what they consider fighters or martyrs. In dispute is the alleged careless financing of such terrorism by the EU, and the angle pushed (as far I saw) exclusively by far right organisations about the extent of the problem, stemming from there being apparently only one source, Netanyahu-appointed Kuperwasser.

            1. And, as I answered, it’s not one source only, and PMW is not “appointed by Netanyahu”. EU as such and most its member states are voting in UN exactly like Germany does. Words about supporting Israel right to exist in security and words about fighting against antisemitism are very cheap in Europe. Deeds do not match them.

              1. That may be your opinion. PMW data was not part of the press articles I saw in the reporting of this issue, and are not a factor according to the Washington Post. See link below. They also say right out of the gate “ The Facts — A big problem is definitional.”

                I have stressed numerous times that it’s irrelevant what I personally believe. If the PMW data is important, many sources need to review them and assess them. But they didn’t.

                “Israel prefers to use broad numbers [by Kuperwasser], labeling every Palestinian in custody as a terrorist, to avoid a spotlight on its detention practices. The Palestinians do not want to single out clear-cut cases of terrorism, no matter how horrific, when even their loved ones celebrate such acts as necessary resistance to occupation.”


              2. I don’t suppose this discussion leads anywhere. For me a person who kills two young parents and cuts throats of their three children sleeping in their beds (the younest 3 months old) is a perpetraing a despicable terrorist act and not an act of “necessary resistance to occcupation”. Such people are getting paid by Palestinian Authority and are praised as a heros and a role models.

  7. The EU is not funding bounty kills of Jews. The EU gives aid money to the Palestinian Authority and the PA is funding bounty kills of Jews.

    1. I assume you’re not being sarcastic. If you are, then ignore my comment below.

      Give me a break. They should stop funding the PA directly until they get rid of that odious program, as the US have. You can fund the government through recognized organizations that do solid charitable and helpful work, not give money that can be diverted to Pay for Slay.

      It’s clear what I meant in my post. Did you not read it?

  8. I knew they paid but I didn’t know it was THAT much – thx for the reportage there. I’m proud my original homeland of Australia will have none of it.

    The whole open air mental hospital they call the “holy land” is an example of how running your societal and intellectual software on iron age fairy tale tribalism works out.

    My original degree was in psych and Middle East politics (separately) and I follow, travel and write about the region quite a bit. I wrote this a few months ago about The Woke and Israel.


  9. Generally, I support a Universal Basic Income, but this form of that idea does indeed seem to be more than a little odious.

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