TEL AVIV – Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas reportedly told President Donald Trump’s senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner that he wouldn’t stop payments to convicted terrorists “until his dying day,” a leading Palestinian newspaper said Monday.
According to the PA-affiliated Al-Quds newspaper, Kushner once again told Abbas in their Thursday meeting in Ramallah that the “pay to slay” program – in which convicted terrorists and their families are paid a monthly stipend, sometimes to the tune of $3,300 – must stop.
The article quoted Gal Berger, an Israeli journalist covering Arab affairs, as saying that “Abbas informed Kushner that he would never stop paying these salaries until his dying day, even if this cost him the presidency.”
After his meeting with Kushner, Abbas issued a statement on Facebook confirming the Al-Quds article in which he vowed: “I will never stop [paying] the allowances to the families of the prisoners and released prisoners, even if this costs me my position and my presidency.”
“I will pay them until my dying day,” he added.
The PA has paid out over $1 billion in terrorist salaries over the past four years.
“Abbas’s statements reflect a measure of the Palestinian anger over the focus of the US delegation on this topic and its disregard of core issues such as the two-state solution and the halting of the settlements,” Berger said, according to a translation of the article by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI).
Abbas was also reportedly furious at Kushner’s reticence in “defin[ing] the borders on the Palestinian state as the 1967 borders.” Kushner, the report said, “stressed the impossibility of halting the settlements in the Palestinian territories, since this would lead to the downfall of the Netanyahu government.”
However, the White House adviser was said to have shown “some openness” on the idea of the two-state solution, but that ultimately it “would be a matter to be agreed upon by the Israeli and Palestinian sides.”
Abbas was also said to have reemphasized his wish that the 2002 Saudi-led Arab Initiative — which calls for a Palestinian state with its capital in eastern Jerusalem — serve as the basis for any future talks.
If U.S. efforts fail, the report said, Abbas will turn to the UN and demand that resolutions against Israel be passed at the UN Security Council, in addition to petitioning the international body to accept “Palestine” as a full member state.