Abbas tells US he won’t stop paying terrorist families
OSAMA FALAH (PPO/AFP)
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said Thursday that he would continue to fund the families of Palestinians ‘martyrs’ who have been jailed by Israel.
“I don’t intend to cease payment for families of prisoner martyrs, even if it costs me my seat, I will continue to pay them until my last day,” Abbas said, according to Kan Hebrew news outlet.
The PA’s payment for terrorist families is a point of contention between the Palestinians and the Trump administration.
During Trump’s visit to the region earlier this year, he stressed to Abbas that the US will not tolerate the PA’s payment for families of terrorists.
“President Trump emphasized the importance of making a clear commitment to preventing inflammatory rhetoric and to stopping incitement, and to continue strengthening efforts to combat terrorism,” a statement released by the White House read. “President Trump raised his concerns about payments to Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails who have committed terrorist acts, and to their families, and emphasized the need to resolve this issue.”
Abbas on Thursday met with US presidential adviser Jared Kushner and told him that Palestinians "highly appreciate the efforts of President Trump, who announced from the outset that he will work on a historic peace deal."
Kushner met the Palestinian leader in Ramallah hours after meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
"We confirm that this delegation is working for peace, and we are working with him to arrive soon at what President Trump called a peace deal," said Abbas. "We know that things are difficult and complicated, but there is no impossible for good efforts."
Earlier his year, Abbas defended payments made to Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails as an important function of his government.
"The political prisoners are in effect the victims of the occupation, not the creators of the occupation," Abbas wrote in a speech that was delivered on his behalf by an adviser at the Herzilya conference in June.
"Payments to support families are a social responsibility to look after innocent people effected by the incarceration or killing of their love ones," Abbas said.
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Abbas is in like the 12th year of his 4 year term....... The time for ultimatums is long over due. "The payments will stop now or you personally will face extreme punishment." The time to put this game to an end once and for all is now.