On the 20th anniversary of the suicide bombing of the Sbarro pizzeria in Jerusalem, Palestine continues to pay off the terrorists

August 9, 2021 • 11:00 am

I’ve talked several times about the Palestinian Authority’s “pay for slay” program (here, here, here, and here), in which Palestinians who commit terrorist acts against Israelis, whether or not they survive, are paid at a substantial rate, and paid so long as they’re in jail. If the killer dies, the money goes to the terrorists’ families. Further, those terrorists who eventually get out of jail are given good jobs by the Palestinian Authority.

This program, odious and reprehensible as it is, seems to be largely unknown (or ignored) by critics of Israel. Perhaps it’s ignored because it’s so much in conflict with the image of “poor downtrodden Palestinians”. After all, what would we think if, say, the Canadian government rewarded their citizens who crossed the border to kill Americans? The fact is that Palestinian authorities pay their citizens to murder Israelis, and that this cruel fact is largely ignored. How can Ben & Jerry, for example, refuse to let Jews sell their ice cream in Israeli-occupied territories while not boycotting a government that not only pays for murder, but deliberately fires rockets at civilians—a war crime.

I write about this again because the Left needs constant reminding of the double standards they apply to Israel and the Palestinian Territories, standards which are hypocritical. As someone called it, this is the “bigotry of low expectations”: different groups are held to different moral standards.

And I write about this again because today it’s been exactly twenty years since Palestinian terrorists from Hamas and Islamic Jihad blew up the Sbarro pizza shop in Jerusalem (August 9, 2001), killing 15 people (five were members of a single family), and injuring 130. Here is a short video about the massacre, horrendous by any standard. (Click on “Watch on YouTube”).

Of course under the “Pay for Slay” program, the Palestinians reward living or dead terrorists who murder Israelis by giving them and their families money (and jobs if they survive and get out of jail). According to Palestinian Media Watch, this money has now added up to$1,183,257. Click on the screenshot:

An excerpt:

As a reward for carrying out the attack, each month the Palestinian Authority pays a total of US$8,006 (25,800 shekels) to the imprisoned terrorists and the families of the dead terrorists, who were involved in the attack.

By now, the PA has paid Abdullah Barghouti, the terrorist who built the bomb and is responsible for the murder of 67 people in various attacks, a cumulative sum of US$285,571 (921,500 shekels). Every month, the PA pays him a salary of US$2,255 (7,300 shekels). In addition, the PA has paid the family of the suicide bomber US$68,498 (221,400 shekels). Every month the PA continues to pay his family an allowance of US$432 (1,400 shekels). The minimum wage in the PA is 1,450 shekels/month (US$44).

Barghouti is serving 67 life-term sentences in an Israeli prison, but he and his family have gotten nearly $300,000 in blood money.

The monthly PA salary payments to the imprisoned terrorists are not just a whim. Rather, they are codified in the PA Law of Prisoners and Released Prisoners, No. 19 of 2004 and regulations promulgated pursuant to the law.

Thus, “Government Decision No. (23) for 2010 regarding a regulation of payment of a monthly salary to the prisoner” sets the salary scale the PA pays to imprisoned terrorists,  including additional benefits for married terrorists, terrorists who have children, and terrorists who are residents or citizens of the State of Israel.

In addition to the issue of payments, section 4 of the Law of Prisoners stipulates that the PA will not sign a peace agreement “without the release of all prisoners”, including terrorists like Abdullah Barghouti and hundreds of other terrorists like him, who are responsible for killing thousands of people.

One of the terrorists who survived, but was caught, was Ahlam Tamimi, a 20 year old female student who escorted the explosive carrier to the restaurant. She got 16 life sentences but was released in 2011 in exchange  for a kidnapped Israeli soldier. After the solder was in captivity for five years, a deal was brokered whereby he was traded for 1,027 Hamas and Palestinian prisoners by Israel. That’s always the way these negotiations go: a gazillion terrorists freed for one Israeli.

At any rate, Tamimi is quoted in Facebook:

In an interview which aired on Al-Aqsa TV on 12 July 2012 (as translated by MEMRI), Tamimi described the reaction of other Palestinians immediately after the bombing:

Afterwards, when I took the bus, the Palestinians around Damascus Gate [in Jerusalem] were all smiling. You could sense that everybody was happy. When I got on the bus, nobody knew that it was me who had led [the suicide bomber to the target]… I was feeling quite strange, because I had left [the bomber] ‘Izz Al-Din behind, but inside the bus, they were all congratulating one another. They didn’t even know one another, yet they were exchanging greetings…While I was sitting on the bus, the driver turned on the radio. But first, let me tell you about the gradual rise in the number of casualties. While I was on the bus and everybody was congratulating one another…

After hearing an initial report that “three people were killed” in the bombing, Tamimi stated:

I admit that I was a bit disappointed, because I had hoped for a larger toll. Yet when they said “three dead,” I said: ‘Allah be praised’…Two minutes later, they said on the radio that the number had increased to five. I wanted to hide my smile, but I just couldn’t. Allah be praised, it was great. As the number of dead kept increasing, the passengers were applauding.

Remember, these are civilians in a pizza parlor, and this is the kind of policy that the Left is implicitly supporting (or chooses to ignore) when it valorizes Palestine.

From the NYT: click on screenshot to read

Let me rephrase that: “We’re Ben & Jerry. Men of Ice Cream, Men of Hypocrisy.”

32 thoughts on “On the 20th anniversary of the suicide bombing of the Sbarro pizzeria in Jerusalem, Palestine continues to pay off the terrorists

  1. I don’t see any disconnect or hypocrisy in one saying they advocate for peace and disavowing Israel’s pursuit of expansion by settlement in the occupied territories – a terrible policy from the beginning. Please explain.

    1. Here’s my explanation, which is not rocket science. Ben & Jerry’s boycott Israel for occupation, which is controversial about whether it’s a violation of international law. But they don’t mention, criticize, or boycott Palestine for doing things which are far more odious: suborning killing of civilians and children, and paying the killers.

      Like most of the Left, Ben & Jerry have double standards, letting an odious and muder-suborning regime off the hook.

      1. But B&J is NOT boycotting Israel. They clearly state that that they do not endorse the BDS movement and that sales in Israel will continue. Unless one believes the OPT is part of Israel, I do not see how this can be construed as a boycott of Israel.

        1. Ok, ok, this is picayune. They are boycotting the sale of their ice cream to Jewish (not Palestinian) stores in the West Bank.

          Everybody seems to be avoiding the main point of the post, which is that Palestine is engaged in an odious program of paying terrorists.

    2. “… Israel’s pursuit of expansion by settlement in the occupied territories…”

      Expansion ? The West Bank is within the original 1948 borders of Israel. It was illegally annexed through a war of aggression by Jordan, who then ethnically cleansed the area of all Jews. The very organization you use as an authority for the term “occupied territories” – the UN – does not recognize the aggressor’s sovereignty of territory taken by any war of aggression. The land should, under the policies that the UN uses everywhere else in the world, belong rightfully to Israel just as it does by actual International law.

      So, there is no “expansion” going on – what is happening is the lawful and just repatriation of ethnically-cleansed people on liberated land, land that belongs to them under International law since 1948.

      1. NO. The West Bank is NOT within the original 1948 borders of Israel. Of course the West Bank (more precisely, Area C) is occupied: it is outside the official borders of the State of Israel, it is controlled by Israel but it doesn’t belong to Israel under any law, both Israeli and international. Jerry’s position concerning the double standards, with which I completely agree, doesn’t need to be supported by lies.

        1. The only decision which is binding according to the international law is the decision from San Remo about East Palestine going to Jordan (then Transjordan) as a state for Palestinian Arabs, and West Palestine (from the Jordan River to Mediterranean Sea) as a Jewish State. The UN resolution with the proposal to divide West Palestine was rejected by the Arabs. As it was only advisory (resolutions by the UN General Assembly are not binding) it was null and void as soon as one side refused to accept it.

          Jordan illegally attacked the Jewish State and occupied (later annexed) the territory it renamed “West Bank”. In the peace treaty between Jordan and Israel, Jordan renounced all claims to the “West Bank”. There is a big Arab population on this territory and they have claims to it (but they were not – as an organized entity – part of either the war or subsequent peace treaty). While the territory was under Jordanian occupation, the PLO renounced all clams to the West Bank stating explicitly in its Charter that the territory is Jordanian. So the territory is disputed, not occupied. By signing the Oslo Accords, Palestinians agreed to Israel’s administration of Area C. This makes claims that this territory is “occupied” even less reasonable. Israel is administering a disputed territory and the day Palestinians agree to negotiate peace with Israelis this territory may be divided, go to Israel or go to the Palestinians, depending on negotiations between the parties.

          1. There is no contradiction between a territory being disputed and occupied. “The fact that the occupied territory is contested or its status is unclear does not have an impact on the test whether or not it is placed under military occupation. What matters is that the state whose forces established effective control was not the rightful sovereign over the territory when the conflict broke out or an invasion took place.” See

            You seem to claim that a territory that hadn’t belonged to any state before cannot be considered occupied. Most experts disagree, although there is a well-known minority opinion that claims that the Israeli military presence, and even settlements, are perfectly legal (or, at least, not illegal). Internet if full of legal discussions of this matter.

            It is interesting to mention that most religious settlers and their Christian supporters simply circumvent the legal issue by arguing that the whole Land of Israel is promised to the Jews by god and the Israeli presence there is a fulfilment of that promise. At least they are consistent in getting straight to the point, without dealing with legal niceties: the point is whether we MORALLY justify the present situation or not, and the legality is relevant (if at all) only inasmuch as it supports the pre-existing moral stance.

            The rest of the information you’ve brought doesn’t seem to contradict what I’ve wrote.

          2. 1. I claim that Israeli territory is part of the former British Mandate for Palestine. On top of the decision of the League of Nations, there is a rule in the international law, uti possidetis iuris, which somehow is valid for the whole world with the exception of Israel.

            2. A territory which was a subject of a peace treaty between sides of the conflict (Jordan and Israel) and which further was a subject of a binding agreement between Israel and PLO representing the Palestinian side cannot be called an “occupied” territory.

            3. Because of the longstanding presence of Palestinian Arabs, Israel admits that they have some right to part of the territory on which they reside. In practice, neither Israelis or Palestinians want to live together; Israel is not a state which would expel a residing population (as opposed to Arab states which expelled the Jews, among them Jordan, which expelled all Jewish residents first from East Palestine, and later from Judea, Samaria and parts of Jerusalem they captured in the aggressive war) and that’s why Israel agrees to the description of this territory as “disputed”.

            I’m fully aware of the legal dispute between specialists, and I see the validity of the arguments of the side claiming that it’s not an occupation and that the “settlements” are legal. I look at the arguments and not the majority/minority issue. It wouldn’t be the first time the majority was wrong. For example, a few years ago, a poll of Europeans found that the majority of respondents believed that Israel is the greatest threat to to world peace. I disagreed with this majority as well.

          3. Since I don’t want to dominate the thread, and since such exchanges of replies tend to be endless and frustrating, this is going to be my last reply.

            The peace treaty between Jordan and Israel is irrelevant to the specific claims I’ve made because the West Bank was never part of the state of Jordan. The Oslo Agreements also don’t make the occupation legal, as both sides no longer stick to the agreement, and for all practical purposes it is dead. As far as these and the rest of the legal issues are concerned, I accept the majority opinion (see also below).

            It is very nice that Israel recognizes that the Palestinians “have some right to part of the territory on which they reside” and even agree that the West Bank is a disputed territory. It makes me feel proud of my country.

            The argumentum ad populum fallacy exists only when we are talking about uninformed opinion of laypeople (as in the pathetic case you’ve mentioned). Here I am talking about an opinion of legal experts, so it is a completely different matter. It is like relying on the fact that most biologists accepts evolution – a perfectly valid argument in favor of evolution.

            Good night

          4. Short recapitulation: 15 May 1948: Israel announced its independence. Like all newly formed sovereign states, it “retains borders that their preceding dependent area had before their independence” (rule “uti possidetis iuris” applied to all states which emerged from the colonial rule but for some mysterious reason NOT applied to Israel by many, including some experts in international law). The British Mandate for Palestine with the task of building a Jewish National Home on the area from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea was this “preceding dependent area”, which means that of 15 May, 1948, Israel’s borders were “from the River to the Sea”.

            Five Arab states, including Jordan, invade one day old Israel. Weak Israeli forces cannot defend all borders, and Judea and Samaria, plus part of Jerusalem, are taken by Jordan. Resident Jews are ethnically cleansed. Jordan later renames the area “West Bank”, annexes it and gives Jordanian citizenship to all residents. 1967: Jordan again starts the war hoping to annihilate Israel and get a greater area for itself. A much stronger Israel repels the aggression and regains its legal territory taken 19 years earlier by Jordan. But you claim that Jordan is irrelevant in the whole story and the peace treaty with Jordan has no bearing on the discussed issue. Well, I disagree and I’m definitely not the only one.

            In your interpretation, the Oslo Accords remind me strongly of Schrodinger’s cat. It’s valid as a basis for the existence of the Palestinian Authority and for the autonomy of Areas A and B, but it’s not valid for Israeli administration of Area C. Interesting.

            About “argumentum ad populum”: there is a significant difference between science and law. Consensus of scientists has much, much greater weight than consensus of lawyers (and in this case a. the minority is quite significant; b. the possibility that bias of the lawyers plays a role in their judgement is much greater). Moreover, the history of science shows that even a majority of scientists can be wrong.

        2. “The West Bank is NOT within the original 1948 borders of Israel.”

          It most certainly is and that is not even controversial.

          The borders of Jewish Palestine (cis-Jordan) were drawn by the Mandate for Palestine Commission, who drew the borders of both Jordan and what was to become Israel in 1920. They derived their authority from the League of Nations where unanimous votes of all nations of the world ratified those borders. Those borders transferred as the official borders of Israel the very instant of its Declaration of Independence May 14th, 1948 according to the essentially sacrosanct precept of International law known as uti possidetis juris. Just as did the 16 other countries created under the Mandate System of the League of Nations:

          British Camaroons
          French Camaroons
          British Togoland
          French Togoland
          New Guinea
          Western Samoa
          S.W. Africa
          S. Seas Mandate

          If you want to claim that the 1948 borders of Israel are not valid, then you must also explain how the borders of these 16 countries were also not valid, as they were created under the exact same provenance.

          Israel, btw, has always maintained the validity of its sovereignty within its 1948 borders. I would love to hear your theory on why the borders of Israel and not, for instance Jordan, are invalid under International law. International law being, btw, something that UN resolutions have no power to make.

          1. First, do you know where the West Bank is? You seem to confuse between so many different things that I don’t even know where to start.
            Also, I didn’t say that the borders of the State of Israel are invalid. I talked about the West Bank, which is a different territory.

          2. The person who is obviously confused here is you.

            Do you have *any* idea what were the legal borders of Israel in 1948? You avoid the question, which is strange because the borders of Jewish Palestine and, hence, Israel have been public record for 100 years. You can read about them in the Mandate for Palestine Committee minutes which are downloadable. The maps themselves are also available. The borders of Israel are from the center of the Jordan river all the way to the Mediterranean Sea. That includes the so-called West Bank. You see, the modern history of the region started in about 1918, not 1967.

            Or did perhaps the Mandate for Palestine create a third top-secret nation during the Mandate for Palestine era without telling anybody? Wakanda, perhaps?

      2. Perhaps it’s rather simplistic, but nevertheless isn’t it the case that Israel’s expansion since 1948 has resulted from its victories in wars launched/provoked by its neighbours – who sought to eradicate the Jewish state from the moment that it first declared its own existence? (Of course, the Arab neighbours had their own landgrabs of each other’s territory in mind, too.)

        As far as I’m aware – and I’m the first to admit my ignorance – the only exception is the few months that Israel occupied Sinai in the wake of the Suez Crisis/Tripartite Aggression – although the entire Sinai peninsula was, of course, later captured by Israel ten years later.

        To return to our host’s theme, the Pay for Slay/Martyrs Fund is unconscionable and should be called out loudly by anyone who believes in peace, justice, or humanitarianism regardless of their stance on the rights and wrongs of the Israeli/Palestine issue more broadly.

      1. It seems to me that B&J have picked sides in a highly controversial and disputed area for the purposes of corporate virtue signalling, without acknowledging the egregious crimes committed by the one they have chosen to back.

        As to why the Occupied Territories were occupied in the first place, Nasser announced that the Straits of Tiran would be closed to Israeli vessels, despite a prior international agreement that they wouldn’t be and in the face of Israeli warnings that such a move would lead to war. He then ejected the United Nations’ peacekeepers and sent the Egyptian military to the Israeli border. Exactly who started the Six-Day War is argued about, but it seems pretty clear that Israel was provoked and that the 1967 conflict was inevitable. If an ice cream company wants to wade into such a complex situation it should take a much more nuanced approach.

        1. Just to add one detail concerning Jordan. While (with plenty of ill-will) one can discuss who started it: Egypt and Syria or Israel, when it comes to Jordan (illegal occupier Judea and Samaria which Jordan renamed “West Bank”) there is no ambiguity. Israel begged the Jordanian king not to take part in the war, but when Egyptian propaganda trumpeted that the Arabs were winning, King Hussain didn’t want to be left without spoils, and do gave the order to open artillery fire on Jerusalem. Israel had no choice but to fight against Jordanians at the same time as against Egypt and Syria. But in this case the first shots came from Jordan.

          1. Thanks for adding the extra detail, Malgorzata. I know our host disapproves of the term “kickass”, but defeating Egypt (the UAR), Syria, and Jordan, plus their minor allies, in just six days…!

  2. It’s possible that some defenders of the Palestinians don’t know about this bounty, but I think some do, and that they think it’s great. The extremely left applauds violence against its enemies. It does know, in most cases, that it looks bad to the fellow travelers.

  3. Sadly all this ever does is hurt people who are just trying to urn a living. The Palestinians employed in those B&J’s will now not have a way to earn a living. Thanks for making it worse B&J…if you wanted to support Palestinians, maybe you could have offered something to them.

  4. The headline is a bit weird, as you can‘t literally pay suicide bombers after their attack. The family of the suicide bombers are probably not themselves “terrorists”. I do understand what you mean, which becomes clear in the body text.

  5. This program, odious and reprehensible as it is, seems to be largely unknown (or ignored) by critics of Israel. Perhaps it’s ignored because it’s so much in conflict with the image of “poor downtrodden Palestinians”. After all, what would we think if, say, the Canadian government rewarded their citizens who crossed the border to kill Americans?

    I think it’s more ‘known and ignored’ than ‘unknown.’ But I could be wrong.

    Reminds me of British privateers – individuals given permission by the government to hunt and capture Spanish ships. Unfortunately the thing that stopped privateering wasn’t the Brits getting more moral, what stopped it was a treaty with Spain. Which means there’s not much hope the Palestinians will stop, and appealing to morality or their better nature probably won’t do it. It’ll most likely only stop when the broader conflict is resolved.

    1. Yup, Sir Francis Drake is regarded as a British hero for his circumnavigation of the world in the Golden Hind and his role in the defeat of the Spanish Armada (although his slaving exploits and colonialisation efforts may put an end to that pretty soon, I expect), whilst in Spain he is seen as a pirate. We don’t seem to be capable of seeing historical people in the round, but only as binary heroes or villains which is surprising in an age where even the binary nature of sex is denied…!

  6. The PA’s bounty is deplorable and should be better known. And, yes, it is conveniently ignored by the left, as it does not fit their narrative. In terms of pure messaging, it’s better to describe and denounce the bounty on its own, and not in comparison with Ben and Jerry or other controversies. Setting up comparisons expands the debate and dilutes the message. Pay for Slay stands as an atrocity on its own.

    1. Sorry, but I already did it. I used Ben and Jerry not as a separate controversy, but simply to show the hypocrisy of the left in valorizing Palestine and demonizing Israel. It’s a tangible example of that.

  7. The Progressive executives of Ben & Jerry are no doubt favorably impressed by the absence of apartheid policies against Jewish citizens of the territories managed by the Palestine Authority. This reflects the complete absence of such Jewish citizens, because the entire Jewish population of the West Bank—at one time significant in Hebron and four kibbutzim in the Etzion bloc—was reduced to zero in 1948. The mysterious disappearance of Jews from this part of mandatory Palestine, which coincides exactly with its take-over by an Arab state, is another of those historical mysteries which baffle Progressive thought. The return of Jews to this part of the planet after 1967 is, on the other hand, understood by Progressive thought to be illegal rather than mysterious.

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