MidEast

Abbas Keeps on Defying U.S., Says PA Will Fund “Pay to Slay” Program Until Last Penny

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Monday defiantly vowed to continue making financial rewards to Palestinian terrorists and their families, even to the PA’s last penny, The Jerusalem Post reported.

“We will not accept a cut or cancellation of salaries to the families of martyrs and prisoners, as some are trying to bring about,” Abbas said during a meeting with families and relatives of Palestinian “martyrs” and former security prisoners.

“Even if we have only a penny left, we will give it to the martyrs, the prisoners and their families,” Abbas promised. “We view the prisoners and the martyrs as planets and stars in the skies of the Palestinian struggle, and they have priority in everything.”

Abbas’ defiance comes despite the suspension of U.S. aid through the Taylor Force Act and Israel’s approval of a new bill which withholds tax funds to the PA as long as they maintain their “Pay to Slay” program.

Abbas hailed the Palestinian security prisoners held by Israel, saying they “pave the way for the liberation of Palestine.”

His position was echoed last week by Shukri Bishara, the PA official in charge of finances, who said the PA would continue to pay the families of the “martyrs.”

“The responsibility of the state and the homeland is to take care of our sons and daughters when they are illegally arrested in Israeli jails,” Bishara observed, adding, “We have an obligation not to turn our backs on them, but rather to adopt them. They can withhold as much as they want, we will not shake off our responsibility.”

In his remarks on Sunday, Abbas also said the so-called American “Deal of the Century,” a peace plan being drawn up by the Trump administration with the support of Israel and Arab States, is set to fail. Despite not having seen the details of the plan, which is still under wraps, the PA has refused contact with the U.S. administration.

Nabil Abu Rudeineh, a spokesman for the PA claimed last week that the PA has thwarted the regional peace plan. In a statement on July 21, Abu Rudeinah claimed the U.S. plan has “slowed down but did not end,” and attacked the “blatant bias towards Israel and the imbalance of power” the plan creates.

Trump told Abbas in May of last year, when the two met in Washington D.C., that “no lasting peace” can be achieved between Israel and the Palestinians “unless the Palestinian leaders speak in a unified voice against incitement to violence.” A few weeks later, when they met in Bethlehem, Trump said during a joint appearance, “Peace can never take root in an environment where violence is tolerated, funded and even rewarded.”

In a conference call organized by The Israel Project last September, former deputy national security advisor Elliott Abrams said that Abbas’s rhetoric during last summer’s riots over the Temple Mount inflamed, rather than calmed the crisis, and that his behavior “really changed their [the Trump administration’s] opinion of him.”

[Photo: Пресс-служба Президента России / WikiCommons ]