Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas vowed that he would not cut payments to families of terrorists despite an Israeli law punishing his government for doing so.
“We will never stop paying the families of the martyrs and the prisoners, despite the efforts to prevent us from doing so,” he said.
He warned that “even if we only have a penny left, we are going to first put it toward these payments.”
The Knesset recently enacted a law on to financially penalize the P.A. for paying stipends to terrorists imprisoned in Israel and their families. The law allows Israel to withhold various tax revenues it collects on behalf of the Palestinians as a means of pressuring the P.A. to stop this practice, which has been referred to as “pay to slay.”
Israel has long pushed for the Palestinians to halt the stipends and has said the practice encourages violence. Among the beneficiaries are families of suicide-bombers and other terrorists involved in deadly attacks.
The stipends total approximately $330 million, or roughly 7 percent of the Palestinian Authority’s $5 billion budget in 2018.
Abbas’s statement on Tuesday was made at a meeting with activists promoting the release of Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails. Abbas said the prisoners of those who “martyred” themselves for the Palestinian cause were the stars of the struggle against Israel, and that’s why they and their families must remain a top priority.
Abbas recalled the late Palestine Liberation Organization leader Yasser Arafat’s decision to establish an organization to take care of families of prisoners, saying this was one of the first things he did as a Palestinian activist. Abbas went on to award released prisoners honorary medals.
Meanwhile, Senior Hamas official Fathi Hammad told Israel:
“We will cleanse Palestine of the filth of the Jews, heal the nation of the Jewish cancer; Netanyahu, Lieberman, we are coming to chop off your heads!”
Hammad gave an address at a July 12 rally in Gaza, in which he said that “the cleansing of Palestine of the filth of the Jews, and their uprooting from it” would happen by 2022.
“The second thing is the establishment of the Caliphate, after the nation has been healed of its cancer—the Jews—Allah willing,” said Hammad, stressing that despite Hamas’s participation in the peaceful Return March, they had not abandoned the military path of Jihad.
His statements aired on the Al-Jazeera network. In another rally, on July 13, Hammad threatened Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israel Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, saying: “We are coming to chop your heads off your necks!”
James E Windsor, Overpasses News Desk
July 25th, 2018