Analysis: PA’s terror salaries condemned after Barkan attack

A fatal terror attack that killed two Israeli citizens in the Barkan industrial park in the West Bank has cast a renewed spotlight on the Palestinian Authority’s policy of paying salaries to convicted terrorists.

Last Sunday a Palestinian worker at the industrial park killed two of his colleagues. Kim Levengrond Yehezkel, 28, and Ziv Hajbi, 35, were both tied up and shot at close range. Both victims were parents of young children.

The IDF launched a massive manhunt for the suspect – Ashraf Walid Suleiman Na’alowa – which is still ongoing.

If caught, put on trial, and imprisoned, the 23 year old resident of Shuweika will receive a generous monthly stipend from the Palestinian Authority – a policy critics say incentivises brutal attacks.

Israel’s foreign ministry tweeted after the attack: “The Palestinian terrorist who murdered Kim Levengrond Yehezkel & Ziv Hajbi will be paid a monthly salary for life by the Palestinian Authority, thus incentivizing more murderous terrorism against Israelis. Stop Financing #Terror!”

A second message said: “Today a Palestinian terrorist murdered two Israelis. He and his family must not be rewarded for this heinous act by the Palestinian Authority.”

LFI has spoken out in parliament against the PA’s policy of terror salaries and our parliamentary chair, Joan Ryan, wrote to the prime minister regarding the issue.

Our parliamentary supporter, Ian Austin, also wrote to the secretary of state for international development to ensure that UK aid money does not facilitate terror salaries.

Ms Ryan then called for a suspension of UK aid money to the Palestinian Authority when it became clear that Mahmoud Abbas was doubling down on the policy.

A third victim of the attack, Sara Vaturi, was shot by Na’alowa, but is expected to make a full recovery. She was helped during the shooting by two colleagues – one Jewish, one Palestinian – and insisted that the terror attack must not be used to justify hate.

“Basel, our warehouse worker, did a heroic deed and saved my life. I was drifting out of consciousness (after being shot) and Basel — who as soon as he heard the shots came running to our offices — pulled me under the desk and calmed me down, saying ‘my darling, my darling’,” Vaturi told reporters.

“We must not generalise all Arabs”, she added. “A lot of them called me after the attack, asked for forgiveness and were ashamed of what happened. We do not judge them because of the actions of a criminal terrorist. One murdered, but another saved my life.” Basel later visited Sara in hospital.

Vaturi also said she was looking forward to returning to work – where there are an equal number of Jewish and Palestinian employees. “Of course I’ll come back to work as usual”, she said. “I don’t think that everyone is bad or everyone wants to harm us. This is the situation in our country.” The Barkan industrial park is near the Jewish settlement of Ariel.

“Will the coexistence that we had here withstand this? I think that there will be two or three weeks of asking questions, then everything will return to normal. We will all work together and everything will be fine. That is my wish. I hope that it will come true. I’m not worried.”

Separately, the IDF discovered this week another Hamas attack tunnel that stretched 200 metres into Israeli territory. The tunnel was then destroyed – the 15th such operation undertaken in a year. 

The IDF estimated that the tunnel represented “$3 million worth of cement, electrical equipment, and hours of labor”. Hamas regularly diverts construction materials away from civilian projects for its terror tunnel project.