Abbas remains defiant in his quest to reward Palestinian terrorism.
Palestinian Authority (PA) head Mahmoud Abbas has pledged not to stop paying salaries to imprisoned Palestinian terrorists and to the families of so-called “martyrs,” who are in reality terrorists killed while committing attacks, even if it costs Abbas his presidency.
Abbas’ Fatah Movement quoted him on their Facebook page as saying “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.”
According to its 2016 budget, the PA pays 26,800 families of “martyrs” a total of 660 million shekels ($183 million) per year, and 6,500 terrorist prisoners receive PA salaries amounting to 486 million shekels ($135 million) a year.
Citing Abbas’ promise, Fatah Central Committee member Jamal Muhaisen emphasized that the issue of salaries to terrorist prisoners and “martyr” families is not about money, but is rather about the “Palestinian historical narrative.”
On Sunday, Palestinian news agency Wattan quoted Muhaisen as saying that payments to terrorists further a narrative in which “prisoners and martyrs represent our Palestinian people’s struggle.”
He praised Abbas, who reportedly told the Trump administration that he will continue with his terror-promoting conduct, even at the cost of his presidency.
Abbas’ statement irrevocably repudiates US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s impression last month that the PA “intends” to cease payments to families of terrorists.
Meeting with families of terrorists last month on Abbas’ behalf, PA Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah assured them that they will continue receiving monetary rewards, and further emphasized the PA’s admiration for the “martyrs.”
“I salute all of the martyrs’ families … [and] emphasize to them that their rights are protected, and we will continue our diligent work with the relevant PLO institutions to fulfill our basic, humanitarian, and national obligations towards them. … We remember the sacrifices and struggle of the pure martyrs, guardians of the land and identity who have turned our people’s cause into a historical epic of struggle and resolve,” the PA official daily Al-Ayyam quoted Muhaisen as saying.
Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) reported that Palestinian sources have indicated that the PA may disguise payments to terrorists as “social aid’ to families, as a deceitful way to appear to comply with US and other donor country demands, while simultaneously continuing to pay terrorist salaries.