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PA to spend $355m on 'terror' payments in 2018: Israeli NGO

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas speaks during a Security Council meeting on the situation in Palestine, Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2018 at United Nations headquarters.
(AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

The Palestinian Authority (PA) has resumed direct payments to Palestinian "security prisoners" in Israel and the families of those who have carried out terror attacks against Israel, a right-wing NGO said on Wednesday.

Last week the United States Congress passed legislation that slashes aid the Palestinians unless the payments are stopped.

Israel and its supporters in the US say that the payments are incentives for Palestinians to carry out terror attacks against Israelis, while Palestinian officials argue they are legitimate welfare expenditure to compensate for loss of income.

Palestinian Media Watch (PMW), citing PA budget documents, said in a report that $158 million was set aside in the 2018 budget for payments to Palestinians imprisoned in Israel.

$197 million was allocated for families of those who were killed or wounded by Israeli forces, including while carrying out acts of terror, the NGO said.

While for the past few years the payments have been made through the prisoners' committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), the budget documents reveal that they are now being made directly from the Western-backed PA, which has limited autonomy in parts of the Israeli-controlled West Bank.

MOHAMMED ABED (AFP)

PA President Mahmoud Abbas has previously defended the payments as a "social responsibility."

"The political prisoners are in effect the victims of the occupation, not the creators of the occupation," he said in June last year.

"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.

However since the election of US President Donald Trump, the White House has piled pressure on the Palestinian leadership over the handouts, capped off by the passage of the bipartisan Taylor Force Act.

The law is named after Force, a US citizen who was killed when a Palestinian went on a stabbing spree in Tel Aviv in 2016.

"These rewards for terrorist attacks are inconsistent with American values. They are inconsistent with decency, and they are certainly inconsistent with peace," Senator Lindsey Graham said before it passed the Senate in the wee hours last Thursday.

Reacting the the PMW report, Israel's Ambassador to the United Nations, Danny Danon said that “Once again, the Palestinians have responded to American initiatives aimed at reconciliation with support for terror and violence."

"We call on the international community, and the United Nations, to join the US in their pledge to put an end to the funding of Palestinian terror.”

Read more:

Israel proposes cuts to Palestinian funding over 'terror' payments

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The Pal Islamofascists control the people like a mafia.

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