TEL AVIV – The Palestinian Authority reiterated its pledge on Monday to continue its so-called “pay-for-slay” scheme rewarding terrorists and their families with monthly stipends.
PA Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah made the promise during a meeting in Ramallah with a delegation from the Palestinian Commission for Detainees and Ex-Detainees, a statement from his office said.
He added that the PA would “provide all forms of aid” to the prisoner’s commission that is in charge of the affairs of the prisoners and the families of Palestinians killed while carrying out attacks on Israel, “in spite of the challenges.”
The payments would continue, Hamdallah said, “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.”
The PA is committed to its “: to serve our heroic prisoners in the occupation’s prisons,” Hamdallah said.
He called the terrorists sitting in Israeli jails “pioneers of the Palestinian struggle who made sacrifices and wasted their lives for the sake of our just cause.”
Last week, PA President Mahmoud Abbas fired Issa Qaraqe, the popular head of the Palestinian Commission for Detainees and Ex-Detainees. The reason was not clear, the Jerusalem Post reported, but speculations arose that it was the result of a dispute between Qaraqe and senior PA official Jibril Rajoub.
Qaraqe was replaced by Kadri Abu al-Rub. Al-Rub, like Qaraqe, is a former security prisoner and a member of the central committee of Abbas’s ruling Fatah party.
Last month, Israel passed a law referenced by Hamdallah that would see hundreds of millions deducted from the tax monies collected on behalf of the PA. Abbas responded by vowing to continue paying “our martyrs and prisoners and wounded people” as the Palestinian leadership has done since 1965.
“We will not allow anyone to interfere with the money that Israel is against us paying to the families of martyrs and prisoners,” he said, according to the state-run news agency Wafa.
The PA Finance Ministry noted last month that the Ramallah-based government was paying some 35,000 terrorist prisoners and their families roughly NIS 100 million each month.
“May God have mercy on the fallen martyrs and wish the wounded speedy recovery and the prisoners freedom from the occupation prisons,” Abbas said at the time.