Palestinian MP Nayef Rajoub, a member of the Hamas-affiliated Party of Change and Reform, on Saturday blasted the Palestinian Authority (PA) Finance Ministry’s decision to stop paying the salaries of 30 released terrorists, on the grounds that they are working against the legitimacy of the PA government.
In a statement, Rajoub said that the move was clearly political and warned that it would deepen the split within the Palestinian Arab people.
"The cessation of payment of salaries to several people who spent time in the prisons of the occupation because of the struggle against it, is a clear response to the pressures of the occupation in its struggle against the freemen (the terrorist prisoners who were released from prison –ed.),” he charged.
It has been estimated that six percent of the PA’s annual budget goes toward the payment of some $4.5 million a month to jailed terrorists and another $6.5 million to their families.
Rajoub’s remarks essentially confirm that the payments made by the PA government to terrorist prisoners were intended all along to help them fight against Israel, and are in essence support for terrorism.
In recent years, the PA has come under increasing pressure, including from several European countries, to stop paying salaries to terrorists, both those who are currently in jail and those who have already been released.
Last month it was reported that Britain would suspend millions of pounds-worth of aid payments to the PA, due to concern the money is ending up in the hands of terrorists.
Recently, Republican senators in the United States introduced legislation that would withhold funds from the PA until it is clarified that it has stopped rewarding terrorists or their families for attacks on Israelis and Americans.