“This (Israeli decision) will cost us a lot,” Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas told members of his Fatah party in the Palestinian hub city of Ramallah. (File photo: AFP)
The Associated Press, Jerusalem
The Israeli Security Cabinet on Sunday voted to withhold $43 million of tax funds from the Palestinians, saying the money has been used to promote violence, Israeli media reported.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, though hit by steep US aid cuts by the Trump administration, has held to paying stipends to the families of Palestinians jailed on security charges and of those killed or wounded by Israeli forces.
Israel and the United States say the policy, which is scaled to give greater monthly payouts for prisoners serving longer sentences, invites violence. Abbas describes the Palestinian inmates and casualties as “heroes” of a national struggle.
“This (Israeli decision) will cost us a lot,” Abbas told members of his Fatah party in the Palestinian hub city of Ramallah. “But we have rights and we will not be afraid.”
The United States passed legislation last year to sharply reduce aid to the PA unless it stopped the stipends. The measure, known as the Taylor Force Act, was named after a 29-year-old American military veteran fatally stabbed by a Palestinian while visiting Israel in 2016.
Washington has further slashed hundreds of millions of dollars to humanitarian organizations and UN agencies which aid the Palestinians as it seeks to pressure Abbas to come back to the negotiating table.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office declined comment.