The Red Cross plays central role in Palestinians getting their stipends for terrorist attacks

A Hamas terrorist releases Israeli hostages to the Red Cross in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, Nov. 28, 2023. Credit: Flash90.

by Itamar Marcus

(Palestinian Media Watch) — The International Committee of the Red Cross has been complicit in the facilitation of rewards to imprisoned Palestinian terrorists. In so doing, the ICRC plays a central role in providing “economic incentive for terrorist activity,” as defined in Israeli law.

In January 2024, Qadura Fares, the director of the PLO Commission of Prisoners’ Affairs, alleged on official PA television that:

The occupation [i.e., Israel] is preventing the Red Cross from visiting the prisoners, and as a result, the Red Cross cannot provide the document given to new or veteran prisoners showing that they are still in prison. This is the document that we established in our [prisoners’ law] regulations as a main document [to confirm salary eligibility]. [emphasis added]

[Official PA TV, Jan. 31, 2024]

The prisoners’ law to which Fares was referring is Palestinian Authority (PA) “Government Decision Number 23 of 2010, Regarding the Regulation of Payment of the Monthly Salary to the Prisoner.” The law specifies:

Clause 3 — Documentation

For the purpose of the payment of a prisoner’s monthly salary, his relatives are required to present the necessary documentation to the authorized administration:

  1. An original document of the Red Cross attesting to his arrest, and an updated document must be brought every three months for a prisoner who is still in detention. [emphasis added]

The prisoners who are entitled to a monthly salary from the PA are those who have been imprisoned for acts of terrorism, as specified in the “PA Law of Prisoners and Released Prisoners number 19 of 2004”:

Prisoner: Anyone imprisoned in the occupation’s [i.e., Israel’s] prisons as a result of his participation in the struggle against the occupation [i.e., PA euphemism for terror] … (7) (1) The Authority will pay every prisoner a monthly salary (ratib) that will be determined in the regulations. [emphasis added]

The PA has arranged that the Red Cross supply the forms for the imprisoned terrorists as proof of their imprisonment, and has written this into PA law and regulations. Accordingly, the Red Cross is a central cog in facilitating the terror rewards.

Additional PA regulations reveal that the Red Cross is quite active in the process. They require an initial Red Cross visit and a minimum of four visits a year to prisoners until the completion of their trial and conviction.

The same PA regulations require that another important form be provided by the Red Cross, that of the Power of Attorney. With this form, terrorist prisoners can designate an individual who will open a bank account for them or receive terror reward payments on their behalf:

Clause 5 — Power of Attorney: (3) The authorization of a representative is executed through a power of attorney issued by the Red Cross signed by the prisoner, or through a personal power of attorney signed by him and certified by a lawyer of the Ministry and by the General Administration for Legal Matters of the Ministry. The document will be valid only at the Ministry for the purpose of paying the salaries. [emphasis added]

The last line of this regulation is of particular significance. It states that the PA would use the power of attorney provided by the Red Cross for one purpose only—to facilitate financial reward for terrorism.

Red Cross documentation also plays a central role in guaranteeing jobs within the PA to released terrorist prisoners, as stated in PA Government Decision — 2006, Regarding the Regulations of the Law of Prisoners and Released Prisoners — Regulation for Ensuring Jobs for the Released Prisoners”:

Clause 3. Every released prisoner has a right to be guaranteed a job in one of the ministries or the PA apparatus, if the following conditions are met:

  1. He was imprisoned for 5 or more years, because of resistance to the occupation; that is whether this period was consecutive or broken into different time periods.

  2. These period/periods is/are documented in official documents of the Red Cross organization, or in a document from the responsible ministry that will verify his imprisonment. [emphasis added]

PA Government Decision No. 15 of 2013 — Regulation for Ensuring Jobs for Released Prisoners was enacted to replace the previous regulation of 2006, but the role of the Red Cross remained the same:

Clause 4: The fixed salary

  1. The criteria for receiving the fixed salary [after release from prison]

  2. The prisoner was imprisoned for a period of 5 or more years …

  3. The period is confirmed by official documents from the International Committee of the Red Cross, or any other legal document that confirms the arrest, the indictment, and decision of the court. [emphasis added]

The fundamental role of the Red Cross in the PA terror rewards program was demonstrated yet again in December 2023, when the PA published the following announcement:

Honored prisoners’ relatives, please produce a Red Cross document for those who have no sentence whose names appear below; [(a list of names followed]
a Red Cross document accompanied by a new administrative [detention] order for the administrative detainees;
and a Red Cross document accompanied by a verdict for the sentenced prisoners.

In addition, the PLO Commission of Prisoners’ Affairs published the following: “The relatives of the prisoners whose names are noted below must produce the signed Red Cross documents. Respectfully.”

The document shows a list of prisoners from the PA’s Hebron District whose period of eligibility for PA terror salaries would end in December 2023. Next to the prisoners’ names is written either, “Bring a new Red Cross document” or “Bring an administrative [detention] document with the Red Cross’ [signature].”

List: “The relatives of these prisoners must hurry and bring new signed [Red] Cross documents — before Dec. 5, 2023”

[PLO Commission of Prisoners’ Affairs – Hebron Directorate, Facebook page, Nov. 26, 2023]

How the Red Cross incentivizes terrorism

In 2018, Israel passed the Law on the Deduction of Allocations to Palestinian Prisoners and Families of Martyrs from Palestinian Clearance Revenues, which defines these terror salaries as an “economic incentive for terrorist activity.”

This law penalizes the PA for paying stipends to Palestinian terrorists and their families by ordering that Israel withhold the monthly transfers of tax revenues that it collects on the PA’s behalf.

The Red Cross, by facilitating these payments, is enabling “economic incentive for terrorist activity.”

The Palestinian Authority’s policy of paying salaries to imprisoned terrorists, including murderers, has been universally condemned by Western governments. Ignoring this, the International Committee of the Red Cross has chosen to play a central role in facilitating these payments to the terrorists.

As can be seen above, the Red Cross is actively involved in ensuring that terrorists receive their salaries and thereby plays an important role in incentivizing Palestinian terrorism.

Every time a Red Cross representative brings forms to the PA after a visit with terrorists, the Red Cross is enabling “economic incentive for terrorist activity.”

The Red Cross has been under severe criticism since Oct. 7 for its lack of initiative in helping the Israeli hostages in Gaza. This Palestinian Media Watch report makes clear that while the Red Cross seems to have no problem being complacent when it comes to the welfare of Israeli hostages, the Red Cross is proactive in being complicit in the reward of Palestinian terrorists.

The Israeli government has been committing a gross oversight by enacting laws that curtail terror salaries on the one hand, but permit the Red Cross to openly facilitate those illegal salaries on the other.

The Israeli government, which has suspended Red Cross visits to imprisoned terrorists, must notify the Red Cross that any future visits are contingent on the Red Cross’ commitment not to supply any forms to the PA that will enable terrorists to receive the terror salaries. It must further prohibit anyone, including imprisoned terrorists’ lawyers, from processing any forms on behalf of the terrorists that allow them to receive these illegal terror payments, and if necessary, enact legislation to prohibit this.

Itamar Marcus is Founder and Director of Palestinian Media Watch, where a version of this article first appeared.