The Palestinian Authority continues to pay salaries to convicted jihadi terrorists and their families, despite assurances from U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson that the program has been suspended.
"They have changed their policy," Tillerson said, per Reuters, in a Tuesday Senate hearing about the Palestinian terror program. "I have been informed they've changed that policy and their intent is to cease payments."
Palestinian officials explicitly rejected Tillerson’s insistence that there is any change in policy. One told Reuters, bluntly: “They are not going to be stopped.” Another Palestinian minister called the “martyr’s fund” a “national, social, and humanitarian duty.”
A third Palestinian official the Jerusalem Post: “We will continue to pay them. What Tillerson said is not correct.” The official said that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas personally assured him that the PLO will ensure the families continue to receive salaries.
Conservative Review reached out to the State Department for clarity on the secretary of state’s remarks.
“We have repeatedly raised our concerns about payments to prisoners and martyrs with the Palestinian Authority and President Abbas, and we understand that they are looking at ways to address this issue,” a State Department official told CR. “We were pleased to see last month that some payments were stopped to Hamas-affiliated prisoners, and we will continue to have this dialogue with the Palestinians. We want to see further steps taken on this issue.”
Additionally, the Washington Free Beacon reports that the Trump administration will continue to deliver aid to the Palestinian government in the West Bank’s Ramallah despite the fact that the government will continue to invest up to 10 percent of its annual budget into paying salaries to terrorists and families of terrorists who’ve been killed attacking Israeli innocents.
The Trump administration will boost aid to the Palestinians by around 5 percent, bringing taxpayers’ funds to the PLO to about $215 million.
Palestinian terrorists in Israeli jails, many of whom are accused of committing mass-casualty terrorist attacks, receive an estimated $350 to $3,000 a month, depending on several factors. In the tiered system, the more people terrorists kill or wound, the more terrorists’ families are rewarded.
A bipartisan group of legislators have introduced the Taylor Force Act as a means to stop the Palestinians from rewarding terrorists.
Last year, Taylor Force, a 28-year-old U.S. Army officer, was killed by a Palestinian terrorist while he was visiting Tel Aviv, Israel. The terrorist wounded 10 others in his jihadi attack, including a pregnant woman, before he was taken down by Israeli police.
Jordan Schachtel is the national security correspondent for Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @JordanSchachtel.
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