PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah speaks during a mass wedding ceremony for 27 couples in Jenin last year..
(photo credit: ABED OMAR QUSINI/REUTERS)
The Palestinian Authority vowed again on Monday to continue payments to Palestinian security prisoners and the families of Palestinians killed in terror attacks on Israel.
The latest pledge was made by PA Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah, during a meeting in his office in Ramallah with a delegation from the Palestinian Commission for Detainees and Ex-Detainees.
Headed by Kadri Abu al-Rub, the commission’s task is to provide various forms of aid to Palestinian security prisoners and their families.
During the meeting, Hamdallah renewed the PA leadership’s commitment to continue payments to the prisoners and families of Palestinian “martyrs,
” said a statement published by the PA prime minister’s office.
Hamdallah, the statement said, also affirmed the PA leadership’s firm position regarding the payments, “despite Israel’s decision to deduct the funds paid to the prisoners and the families of the martyrs from tax revenues collected by the Israeli government on behalf of the PA.”
He also pledged the PA government would continue to “provide all forms of aid” to the commission overseeing the affairs of the prisoners and the families of the Palestinians killed while carrying out attacks on Israel, “in spite of the challenges.”
The PA government, Hamdallah added, is carrying out a “noble national deed to serve our heroic prisoners in the occupation’s prisons.” He described the security prisoners held by Israel as “pioneers of the Palestinian struggle who made sacrifices and wasted their lives for the sake of our just cause.”
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Last week, PA President Mahmoud Abbas fired the former head of the Commission for Detainees and Ex-Detainees, Issa Qaraqe. It remains unclear why Abbas took the surprise decision to oust Qaraqe, a former security prisoner who held the rank of minister and who is very popular among the Palestinian security inmates and their families.
Qaraqe was replaced by Kadri Abu al-Rub, another former security prisoner and a prominent representative of Abbas’s ruling Fatah faction.
According to some Palestinian sources, Qaraqe was fired following a dispute that erupted between him and top Fatah official Jibril Rajoub. Rajoub, according to the sources, was enraged because he was excluded from a documentary filmed by Qaraqe’s commission on the 1980 hunger strike of Palestinian security prisoners in Nafha Prison in the Negev. Rajoub argued that he was one of the leaders of the hunger strike and was therefore entitled to be part of the documentary.
Recently, Abbas also vowed to continue the welfare payments to convicted terrorists and the families of “martyrs” despite US and Israeli criticism.
“We will not accept a cut or cancellation of salaries to the families of martyrs and prisoners, as some are trying to bring about,” Abbas was quoted as saying. “If we had one single penny left, we would spend it on the families of the martyrs and the prisoners. We consider the martyrs and the prisoners to be stars in the sky of the Palestinian people and struggle.”
In a separate development, the PLO Central Council is scheduled to meet in Ramallah on Wednesday to discuss the latest developments in the Palestinian arena, and US President Donald Trump’s yet-to-be-announced plan for peace in the Middle East.
The meeting, which will be chaired by Abbas, will also discuss Israeli measures aimed at “Judaizing [Palestinian] lands through settlements and destroying the two-state solution,” said Mohammed Subeih, Secretary-General of the PLO Central Council.
The 145 PLO delegates will also discuss plans to “move from the phase of an authority to the phase of a state,” Subeih said, referring to the possibility the Palestinians would unilaterally seek UN recognition of a Palestinian state.
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