On June 6 (local time), Mahmoud Abbas, President of the Palestinian Authority ordered to pay $42,000 to the family of a Palestinian terrorist who had murdered two Israelis. The money, according to PA, will cover the cost of the new housing.
Laila Ghannam, the Governor of Ramallah, who was appointed by Abbas, met the family of the terrorist identified as Muhannad Halabi and gave them 30,000 Jordanian Dinars, which equals to $42,000. Following the killings, their house was destroyed by the Israeli Defence Forces.
According to KAN, Israel’s Public Broadcasting Corporation, the payment made to the terrorist’s family is the first high-profile payment since the Biden administration came into power. Reportedly, Ghannam also informed the family that Abbas had instructed them to find permanent housing for them.
The leaders have defended the payments
The Palestinian leaders have a history of defending the payments made to the terrorists and their families. They have described these payments as a form of social welfare and necessary compensation to the victims of “attacks from the Israelis”. Reports suggest that Ramallah paid NIS 600 million or $181 million in 2020 as payments to Palestinians captured by Israel for security offences that included terrorism.
Warnings from the US and EU
Over the past year EU and the US have warned Ramallah that if the policy is not changed, it will cause hurdles in improving relations. Based on Taylor Force Act, the US aid to PA was suspended as long as it keeps on paying the terrorists and their families.
It was reported by the Times of Israel that Palestinians were planning to rethink the said policy under which such payments are made as they wanted to restore relations with the governments of the US and Europe. Senior Palestinian officials had informed the news agency that they were willing to modify their policy of paying stipends to Palestinian security prisoners and the families of terrorists along with those who were killed in Israeli attacks.
Notably, the relations between PA and the US have been severed since the Trump administration recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel in 2017. Abbas had rejected the then-US President Donald Trump’s ‘vision’ for Israeli-Palestinian peace.
The killings of two Israelis
On October 3, 2015, Halabi killed two Israelis, identified as Aharon Banita and Rabbi Nehemiah Lavi, in a stabbing attack. During the attack, a 2-year-old son and Adele, wife of Banita, were injured. The incident took place in the Old City of Jerusalem. Following the stabbing attack, Halabi was shot dead by IDF.
Israel calls the practice ‘pay-to-slay’
The policy under which PA pays allowances to the convicted terrorists and the families of those who carried out the attacks often attract criticism from the Israeli government. The Israeli officials termed such payments as ‘pay-to-play. As per reports, the Palestinian Authority hands out great sums of money to the families of convicts for longer jail sentences. Thus, families of brutal terrorists often receive greater amounts.