Abbas to defy Israeli law and continue Palestinian prisoner payments

Elias Hubbard
July 12, 2018

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said Sunday he will continue to pay stipends to Palestinian attackers and their families, in spite of the Israeli parliament's decision to withhold tax funds collected on the PA's behalf.

Palestinians view those killed or detained by the Israeli government as heroes and political prisoners and that the welfare program helps to financially sustain them and their families.

Also on Friday, a Palestinian man, 22, was killed and dozens injured by Israeli troops as Palestinian protesters demonstrated on the border with Israel near Gaza City, the Palestinian Maan news agency reported.

Trump announced past year that he will stop America's contribution to the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) and the PA to put pressure on the authority to stop paying salaries to Palestinian prisoners inside Israeli jails and prisoners released by Israel, as well as to the families of Palestinians killed by Israel.

The stipends amount to approximately $330 million, or about 7 percent of the Palestinian Authority's $5 billion budget in 2018.

"We will not allow anyone to interfere with the money that Israel is against us paying to the families of martyrs and prisoners", he said, according to a transcript from a state-run media outlet.

"We are still waiting and we will take the proper measures that fit with our interests", Abbas said.

"We told Egypt that if Hamas really wants to make reconciliation, it should transfer all power in the Gaza Strip to the Palestinian consensus government, and if not, they should bear the full responsibility of Gaza", said Abbas.

The bill is similar to the United States' Taylor Force act passed roughly a month ago, which similarly slashes aid to the PA unless it cease payments to families of terrorists convicted in Israeli courts.

Some 35,000 political prisoners, martyrs and their families receive this stipend.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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