Mahmoud Abbas

Abbas is ignoring a request by Trump and other Western leaders to cease the payment of salaries to Palestinian terrorists and their families. 

Palestinian Authority (PA) head Mahmoud Abbas and several other Palestinian leaders have rejected the demands of  US President Donald Trump and many other governments and legislators to stop the payments of salaries to Palestinian terrorists and their families.

Following the demand made by Israel, and just before Abbas’ meeting with Trump last week, Director of the PLO Commission of Prisoners’ Affairs Issa Karake announced Abbas’ “absolute refusal.”

“The President [Abbas] emphasized his absolute refusal of the Israeli demands to stop the allowances of the families of the prisoners and Martyrs (Shahids), and emphasized his absolute support for them (i.e., for the payments),’” he said, according to the Palestinian Amad news site.

After Trump’s meeting with Abbas, senior PA official Nabil Shaath also unequivocally rejected the request to end the PA’s policy of paying the terror stipends, calling the proposal “insane.”

Similarly, Abbas’ deputy chairman of Fatah, Mahmoud Al-Aloul, reiterated that the PA under no circumstances would give in to American pressure to stop the salaries.

“The PA will reject any proposal that demands to stop taking care of the families of the Martyrs, prisoners, and injured through the transfer of monthly financial allowances. This is a national cause, and that the American administration and the occupation [Israel] encountered a refusal on this matter,” he said, Al-Wattan reported on Thursday.

PA Minister of Justice Ali Abu Diyak also emphasized that “it is not possible… to stain with terror the struggle of our people that is defending itself, its land, its holy sites, its freedom, and it’s just rights,” and stressed that “the Martyrs and prisoners are the symbols of our legitimate national struggle, the conscience of our Palestinian people.”

PLO Executive Committee member and member of the political bureau of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine Tayseer Khaled has stressed the PLO’s refusal to end the payments to terrorists and called the demand “provocative.”

“Those whose allowances the American administration is demanding to stop are freedom fighters, and the Palestinian side cannot relate to these provocative demands. The Palestinian National Fund, which… takes care of the families of the Martyrs, wounded, and prisoners, and will continue to do so regardless of the positions of the Israeli government and the American administration,” he stated.

Freedom Fighters?

The Palestinians defend the payments saying that the recipients are not terrorists but “freedom fighters” and therefore are rightfully rewarded. They further claim the payments are “social welfare for the families,” and therefore not a reward for terror.

The Palestinian Media Watch (PMW), which monitors Palestinian incitement in the media, points out that both claims are false.

The overwhelming majority of prisoners are not “fighters” who participated in any combat with soldiers, but are terrorists who targeted civilians. Terrorists like Abdullah Barghouti, who built the bombs that murdered 67 civilians at the Hebrew University, in cafés, and on buses cannot be called “fighters.”

Marwan Barghouti, who is currently leading the Palestinian prisoners’ hunger strike, planned several shooting attacks in which five Israelis were murdered. This is cold-blooded murder and does not turn him into a “fighter.” Nonetheless, each has received nearly $200,000 in PA salaries.

In general, few of the 6,500 Palestinian prisoners actually confronted Israeli soldiers as “fighters.”

As for the claim the payments are social welfare for wives and children, the PA Ministry of Prisoners’ Affairs reported in 2010 that 63 percent of the prisoners at that time were single, and yet they received the same high basic salaries, up to 12,000 shekels a month, depending on the length of time in prison.

Moreover, Palestinian law explicitly refers to the payments of salaries, Rawatib in Arabic. In addition, when the salaries get high enough the PA government collects income tax as with all salaries.

PMW has documented a case in which a prisoner’s wife complained that she and her children were not receiving the prisoner’s salary. The Minister of Prisoners’ Affairs responded that although the prisoner should have given the money to his wife and children, the minister could not force him to since it was his personal salary.

“For nearly four years, the prisoner’s allowance from the Ministry of Prisoners’ Affairs… has not reached your hands and your children’s hands… Did you try to turn to the authorities?” the PA TV journalist to wife of prisoner.

“A year and a half ago, I went to the Ministry of Prisoners’ Affairs… Their answer was: ‘Your husband transfers it to the person he wants. It’s in his power not to transfer [it to you] and we can’t do anything about it,” she replied, clearly negating the notion that the payments are for welfare.

By: United with Israel Staff

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Source: United with Israel