(photo credit: REUTERS)
Jerusalem on Wednesday pushed back against reports that the Palestinian Authority has stopped payments to terrorists in Israeli jails or to the families of terrorists.
“Israel knows of no change in the Palestinian policy, which is to continue to pay the families of terrorists,” a senior diplomatic source said. “The Palestinian Authority continues to praise, incite and encourage terrorism with these payments.”
Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman echoed the same sentiment in a Kan
radio interview, saying that he has not seen any sign that the Palestinian Authority has halted or intends to halt these payments.
“We are watching this closely, and at least up until now I have not seen that the payments to the families of terrorists have stopped, or that there is any intention to stop them,” he said.
PM Netanyahu: Israel condemns terror, Palestinian Authority praises it
On Tuesday, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told the Senate Intelligence Committee that President Donald Trump raised this issue with PA President Mahmoud Abbas when the later was in Washington in May. Tillerson said that he himself pressed the issue even more so when he met Abbas that same day.
“I told him, you absolutely must stop making payments to family members of, quote, ‘martyrs’,” Tillerson said. “I said, it’s one thing to help orphans and children. But when you designate the payment for that act, that has to stop.”
Tillerson continued: “They have changed their policy – at least I have been informed they’ve changed that policy – and they are, their intent is to cease the payments to the family members of those who have committed murder or violence against others.”
Tillerson said these payments are not acceptable to the administration, and “certainly not acceptable to the American people.” Tillerson was asked about the matter by Idaho’s republican Senator Jim Risch.