by Reuters and Israel Hayom Staff
Qadura Fares, head of the Palestinian Prisoners Club, says Palestinian Authority will challenge the decision that could worsen an already existing economic crisis
Palestinians condemned on Monday the Israeli decision to trim funds over terrorist stipends, in which Israel will withhold over $138 million from the Palestinian Authority for payments given to families of Palestinians who carried out attacks against Israelis. The sum, which comprises about 5% of the PA's revenues, was cut from the taxpayer funds that Israel collects for the PA.
Qadura Fares, head of the Palestinian Prisoners Club, said the PA would challenge the decision that could worsen an already existing economic crisis.
Under interim peace deals, Israel collects taxes on behalf of the Palestinians, who put the current sums at $222 million a month.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, though facing steep aid cuts by U.S. President Donald Trump's administration that he has boycotted over perceived bias, has insisted on paying stipends to the families of Palestinian terrorists either jailed or killed by Israeli security forces.
Israel and the United States say the PA's policy, which is scaled to give greater monthly payouts for prisoners serving longer sentences – or in other words the worse the crime the better the pay – fans Palestinian violence. Abbas describes the slain and jailed Palestinian terrorists as "heroes" of a national struggle.
The United States passed legislation last year to sharply reduce aid to the PA unless it stopped the stipends. The measure, known as the Taylor Force Act, was named after a 29-year-old American military veteran fatally stabbed by a Palestinian terrorist while visiting Israel in 2016.
The Palestinians last month declined some $60 million in U.S. annual funding for their security forces, worried about exposure to lawsuits under new U.S. anti-terror laws.
The Trump administration has further slashed hundreds of millions of dollars to humanitarian organizations and U.N. agencies which aid the Palestinians as it seeks to pressure Abbas to come back to the negotiating table.
Some security experts voiced concern that the fiscal blows could destabilize the Palestinian Authority and strengthen its rival Hamas in Judea and Samaria.
Reuters and Israel Hayom Staff
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