Palestinians to keep paying prisoner stipend despite Israeli penalty

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The team of officials, led by presidential advisor/son-in-law Jared Kushner, travelled to the region last month but found their proposals unlikely to be implemented because the Palestinian Authority refuses to meet with them, still infuriated by the Trump administration's decisions to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and move its embassy there.

Israel has called on Palestinians for years to halt the stipends, which benefit roughly 35,000 families of Palestinians killed, wounded or jailed in the conflict with Israel, many of them accused of involvement in terror.

Israel has repeatedly demanded that the Palestinians, who view prisoners as national heroes, stop paying stipends to them and their families, saying they are a reward and encouragement for the prisoners' actions against it.

"The money we pay to families of prisoners and martyrs, which Israel opposes, we will not allow anyone to intervene with it", said Abbas, whose Western-backed Palestinian Authority has limited self-rule in the occupied West Bank.

Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas (centre) on Sunday sought peace with Israel through non-violence.

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The stipends amount to approximately $330 million, or about 7 percent of the Palestinian Authority's $5 billion budget in 2018.

"No one has the right to interfere in this matter", said the Fatah leader at a meeting of party members in Ramallah on Sunday, according to state-run news agency Wafa.

After the law comes into force, payments made by the PA to Palestinian security prisoners and their families would be deducted from the tax revenue given to Ramallah.

"We are still waiting and we will take the proper measures that fit with our interests", Abbas said.

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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