The Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has "apparently lied to" U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson about an ongoing program to allegedly pay Arabs to murder Jews, the president of the Zionist Organization of America said in a statement Thursday.
Morton A. Klein charged that Palestinian Authority officials will continue to give Palestinian terrorists "pay to slay" payments after telling Tillerson that it would end such payments, according to a ZOA statement.
"(Abbas) has apparently lied to, misled and/or confused U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson about the PA's ongoing payments to Palestinian terrorists and to the families of Palestinian terrorists who murder and maim Jews and others in stabbing, car ramming, shooting and bombing attacks ('pay to slay')," Klein said in the statement.
During a public hearing on Capitol Hill with the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee about the State Department's budget, Tillerson said that Palestinian leadership had changed its policy for so-called "martyr" payments and intends to stop paying the families of terrorists jailed for attacking or killing Israelis, the Times of Israel reported.
"They have changed that policy and their intent is to cease the payments to the families of those who have committed murder or violence against others," Tillerson told the committee, according to the Times of Israel. "We have been very clear with them that this [practice of paying terrorists] is simply not acceptable to us."
A Palestinian official told Reuters, though, that such "martyr" payments would continue in some form, he believed.
"There have been talks about making the payments in a different way, but not ending them," the official told Reuters. "They could perhaps be labeled differently. They are not going to be stopped."
The Palestinian Authority makes a variety of social security payments, mostly to families, for those convicted and imprisoned by Israel for fighting against the occupation and those killed in violence, Reuters reported.
Klein called for "tough U.S. administration and Congressional action" to end the payments that he said award terrorists for killing Jews.
"We must enact the Taylor Force law; insist that the PA Parliament formally rescind its law 'requiring' paying Arabs to murder Jews; not permit the PA to continue the same payments via a third party or under another name (such as purported payments to 'widows and orphans'); roll back the five percent increase to the PA in the White House's FY 2018 budget proposal; and eliminate U.S. tax dollars going to the PA at least until the PA proves that it has ended 'pay to slay' payments and its promotion of hatred and violence against Jews as the Arabs agreed to in the 23 year old Oslo Accords," Klein said.
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