JERUSALEM (JTA) – The Palestinian Authority (PA) has not stopped paying salaries to the families of terrorists jailed in Israel, according to Israeli officials, contradicting U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
The officials, including Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman, said Wednesday that they have not seen a change in the PA policy. A day earlier, Tillerson told senators at a meeting of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee that the policy had changed.
“I have not seen any indication that the Palestinian Authority stopped or intends to stop payments to terrorists and terrorists’ families,” Liberman told Israel Radio.
An unnamed Israeli diplomatic official told Israeli publications, “We are not aware of any change in the Palestinian Authority’s policy, and as far as we know they are still paying funds to terrorists’ families. The Palestinian Authority continues to praise, incite to and encourage terror through financial support.”
Issa Karaka, head of prisoner affairs for the Palestinian Authority, told Haaretz that the payments have been made this month and will be made next month.
“Almost every other household among the Palestinian people is the family of a prisoner or martyr,” he told Haaretz. “Anybody who thinks he can execute a decision like that is badly wrong.”
Tillerson in his remarks before the Senate committee, speaking about the Palestinians, said: “We have been very clear with them that this is simply not acceptable to us. They have changed that policy and their intent is to cease the payments to the families of those who have committed murder or violence against others.”