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Top Abbas Adviser: It Would be “Insane” for Palestinian Authority to Stop Paying Terrorists

A top adviser to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Thursday harshly rejected the United States’ “insane” demand that the Palestinian Authority stop paying salaries to convicted terrorists and their families.

Nabil Shaath, a foreign policy adviser to Abbas, told Israel Radio that halting the payments to terrorists would harm prospects for peace negotiations with Israel, the Times of Israel reported.

“It’s insane to request that we stop paying the families of prisoners,” he said. “That would be like asking Israel to stop paying its soldiers.”

He called Palestinian prisoners, many of whom were convicted for gruesome murders, “victims of Israel and the result of occupation.”

Despite dismissing Washington’s demand to stop paying terrorists, Shaath said that the meeting between Abbas and President Donald Trump on Wednesday was a good effort to restart negotiations and expressed his “appreciation” for Trump’s “respectful” approach.

Shaath told local media in January that Palestinians have an “indisputable” right to “armed resistance,” a popular euphemism for terrorism, Palestinian Media Watch reported.

The Wall Street Journal‘s editorial board argued in November that payments to Palestinian terrorists “are an official incentive program for murder that in any other context would be recognized as state sponsorship of terror.”

Eli Lake wrote in Bloomberg View in July that offering salaries to Palestinians who kill Israelis “encourages” terror attacks “as a legitimate act of resistance.”

An investigation in the Mail on Sunday in March 2016 found that Amjad Awad, a Palestinian man who in 2011 helped massacre five members of the Fogel family in their West Bank home, has already received some $23,000 from the PA as compensation. (In 2012, PA television called Awad and his cousin, who also participated in the killings, “heroes.”)

Another terrorist on the PA’s payroll is veteran Hamas bomb-maker Abdallah Barghouti. Barghouti is serving 67 life sentences in an Israeli jail over his role in numerous bombings, including at the Hebrew University cafeteria in 2002, the Sbarro restaurant in Jerusalem in 2001, and a Rishon Lezion nightclub bombing in 2002, which killed 66 people. He is believed to have received over $150,000 for his efforts thus far.

The “cash-strapped PA relies on foreign aid for nearly half its budget,” the Mail on Sunday observed. “Yet it gives [$102] million a year to prisoners locked up in Israeli jails, former prisoners and their families.”

Since the amount of money awarded to Palestinian terrorists correlates to the amount of time they’re serving in prison, “the more gruesome the terrorism, the more money will be paid,” The Jerusalem Post reported in 2015.

Israeli government sources told the Post at the time that “while knowledge of these payments is ‘nothing new,’ it clearly shows that the PA provides economic incentives for carrying out terrorist acts. More than that, one source said, the fact that these funds are allocated for that purpose helps bolster the image of terrorists – or as the Palestinians often call them, ‘martyrs’ – into heroes.”

“‘It is a problem for the PA. On one hand they claim they want peace and discourage violence, and on the other hand they put terrorists on pedestals, idolize them as heroes, and provide meaningful financial incentives for others to follow their path,'” the source said.

[Photo: Travel 2 Palestine / Flickr ]