“‘Even if I will have to leave my position, I will not compromise on the salary 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,” PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas announced last Sunday on the official Fatah Facebook page.
“I will not compromise on the salary of a Martyr 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,” Abbas said.
A major bone of contention between the chairman and the White House has been the Americans’ insistence that the Palestinian Authority suspend its monthly payments to security prisoners inside Israeli prisons and to the families of killed terrorists. These payments are anchored in a 2011 Palestinian Authority law, so that stopping them cannot be done by executive order and would require a change in the law – a very tall order for this and any other PA leadership.
According to Palestinian Media Watch, in 2016 the PA paid 26,800 killed terrorists’ families a total $183 million, and 6,500 terrorist prisoners $135 million.
The Wattan news agency reported that Fatah’s Central Committee member Dr. Jamal Muhaisen on Sunday emphasized that the payments are not a financial matter, but are connected to “the Palestinian historical narrative, according to which the prisoners and Martyrs represent our Palestinian people’s struggle.”
Back in June, PMW reported that the Palestinian Authority is planning to hide its payments to terrorist prisoners and the families of killed terrorists by transferring the funds for distribution by a kind of Social Security agency, under the PA Interior Ministry.
The first time the PA did this was in 2014 when the it closed the PA Ministry of Prisoners’ Affairs, continued the payments through the PLO Commission of Prisoners’ Affairs. After PMW exposed the deception, documenting the money transfers from the PA to the PLO, the US and EU condemned the practice repeatedly.