MidEast

Abbas Tells Fatah that He Rejects U.S. Peace Plan, Will Continue Paying Martyrs

During a meeting with Fatah party leaders on Sunday, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said that Palestinian terrorists and their families will continue to receive stipends and that Arab countries agree with him in opposing the United States peace plan, The Times of Israel reported.

Abbas told Fatah that the Palestinian government will continue to disburse money to their “martyrs and prisoners and wounded people,” something it has done in its various incarnations since 1965.

For years, Israel has tried to stop the PA from paying terrorists and their families. For the PA, the tax revenue Israel collected for them under previous peace agreements is money that belongs to them and that the Palestinian government is responsible for all its citizens.

However, there is a growing consensus opposing the PA’s payments to terrorists and their families. Earlier this year, the United States passed the Taylor Force Act which would spend foreign aid from the Palestinians as long as they continued the practice. Australia, last week, discontinued payments to the PA on account of the continuing the “Pay-To-Slay” program. The Knesset, also last week, passed a law deducting the amount the PA pays terrorists from the tax receipts it collects for the PA.

It has been estimated that stipends amount to 7 percent of the PA’s 2018 total budget.

During the meeting, the Palestinian leader also discussed U.S. President Donald Trump’s Israeli-Palestinian peace plan and said that those efforts are destined to fail. He also added that other Arab countries have rejected the peace plan, though he did not specify which countries.

However, a March report claimed that Arab countries warned Abbas that if he passed up on the U.S. plan, the Palestinians could “regret” it later.

The meeting comes in the wake of PA officials attacking Trump’s plan, saying that it is an attempt to “blackmail” Palestinians to “liquidate” their cause. PA Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah previously said that the U.S. threatening to cut funding to the PA was “extortion.”

Sheikh Mohamed Salim, who led Friday’s sermon at al-Aqsa Mosque, cautioned that Trump’s peace plan was the “greatest conspiracy against Muslims in modern history.”

He also cautioned Arabs and Muslims from cooperating with what Trump has named the “deal of the century.”

The PA has characterized recent U.S., Israeli and international efforts to help improve the quality of life of the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip as being focused on dividing the Palestinians.

For instance, Abbas “rebuked” United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Nickolay Mladenov, for his efforts to promote humanitarian and economic projects in Gaza saying that they were “in harmony with American schemes.”

[Photo: AP Archive / YouTube ]