Palestinian Authority is using US aid to pay stipends to terrorists who murdered American citizens, Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman said at a meeting of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on Tuesday.
Liberman’s comments came at a critical time, because Congress may have to decide soon whether to discontinue funding the PA if Fatah and Hamas finalize their power-sharing agreement.
Funding a government backed by Hamas would be illegal under American law because the US has designated it a terrorist organization. But if Hamas supports a technocratic government from the outside, it is possible that US President Barack Obama’s administration will pressure Congress to maintain the funding.
Liberman noted that PA president Mahmoud Abbas already provides hefty stipends to terrorists in Israeli jails, even if they are affiliated with Hamas. He said some 5,000 security prisoners are paid more than NIS 7,500 a month each.
“Abbas, who whines about the PA’s finances, pays large stipends to prisoners convicted of murder and those who tried to become suicide bombers,” Liberman told the MKs. “The prisoners are given three times as much as Palestinian policemen.”
Liberman said Abbas cared only about his legacy (with regards to the Palestinians) and had no interest in reaching an agreement with Israel, no matter what he would be offered. He called upon Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to use the lull in diplomatic talks with the PA to bring to a vote recommendations on prisoner releases, drafted two years ago by a committee led by former chief justice Meir Shamgar.
The foreign minister complained that the international community was avoiding solving key problems. He warned against a deal with Iran that would leave the Islamic Republic on the verge of nuclear capability.
Liberman said some 6,000 Europeans were fighting in Syria and that President Bashar Assad had been strengthened by Iranian-backed fighters from Hezbollah.
“This will make Abbas more dependent on them long-term,” Liberman said.