Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has announced that he will never cease paying monthly stipends to terrorists, even if he if forced to leave his position because of the decision.
A Palestinian Media Watch translation of Abbas’ statement on the Fatah party’s Facebook page read, “‘Even if I will have to leave my position, I will not compromise on the salary (rawatib) of a Martyr (Shahid) or a prisoner, as I am the president of the entire Palestinian people, including the prisoners, the Martyrs, the injured, the expelled and the uprooted.”
According to its 2016 budget, the Palestinian Authority (PA) currently pays 26,800 families of “Martyrs” a total of NIS 660 million ($183 million) per year and 6,500 terrorist prisoners receive PA salaries amounting to NIS 486 million ($135 million) per year.
Senior Fatah official Jamal Muhaisen reiterated Abbas’ vow to never suspend terrorists’ salaries, claiming that it was not about money. Muhaisen said the policy represents an effort to preserve the “historical narrative” of the Palestinian people in which terrorist martyrs who die while attacking Israelis are viewed as heroes, and represent the struggle of the Palestinian people.
The United States, Israel and Europe are pressuring the PA to cease payment of stipends to terrorists.
President Trump addressed the issue with Abbas during both of their meetings in May.
According to Palestinian media reports, Abbas was “fuming” following his recent meeting with Trump’s advisor and son-in-law Jared Kushner, who again voiced American concerns about the PA’s payments to imprisoned terrorists. Abbas reportedly refused to comply with demands from Washington that the PA cease providing salaries to 600 terrorists imprisoned on multiple counts of murdering Israelis.
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