Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said on Sunday that he will continue to pay stipends to convicted terrorists and their families in defiance of a bill passed by Israel last week that would offset payments to the Palestinian Authority as a deterrence from what it calls "terror payments".
Roughly 35,000 families benefit from the stipends that are paid to families of Palestinians killed, wounded or imprisoned by Israel, according to the Times of Israel. Israelis, on the other hand, say the stipend acts to encourage protests against them.
The stipends amount to approximately $330 million, or about 7 percent of the Palestinian Authority's $5 billion budget in 2018.
Trump announced a year ago that he will stop America's contribution to the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) and the PA to put pressure on the authority to stop paying salaries to Palestinian prisoners inside Israeli jails and prisoners released by Israel, as well as to the families of Palestinians killed by Israel.
Early this morning Israeli authorities banned Swedish human rights activist Ladraa from entering Palestine. "This is nothing short of highway robbery, this is real piracy, they are stealing Palestinian funds, it's not theirs to decide what to do with it, if we were free we wouldn't need Israel to collect customs".
Abbas defiantly told a meeting of Fatah party leaders that the Palestinian government would pay "our martyrs and prisoners and wounded people" as it had since 1965. "We are watching and are waiting and we will take the appropriate measures that suit our interest". The Palestinians say they are welfare payments to support them and their families.
Palestinian officials say that some 6,500 Palestinians are now being held in Israeli jails.
Most of these jailed Palestinians who benefit from the payment are tried through Israeli military courts, which has a almost 100 percent conviction rate of Palestinians.
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