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Abbas: “We are ready for a dialogue” with Israel on prisoner salary issue, but will not accept deductions

Official PA TV News, on US President Donald Trump’s Middle East peace plan, the Bahrain workshop, and the terrorists’ salaries

PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas: “Regarding the Manama workshop (refers to US-led conference in Bahrain in late June 2019 focusing on economic aspects of US President Donald Trump's Middle East peace plan –Ed.), we have also said that we will not be present at this workshop and the reason is that it is not possible to examine the economic situation before there will be [an examination of] the political situation there. As long as there is no [reference to the] political situation, we will not relate to any economic situation.

Regarding our money in Israel, we have said that we will not accept this money if [part of] it is deducted (refers to PA response to Israeli Anti “Pay-for-Slay” Law to deduct terrorist salaries; see note below –Ed.). In other words, Israel must pay the money in full, and if there is any disagreement we are willing to discuss it afterwards. However, the fact that [Israel] is deducting some of the money on the pretext that we are paying Martyrs’ [families], prisoners, or wounded – this is something we will not accept. We are ready for a dialogue with them on all of the matters related to us and to them, the economic and financial matters.”

Israel's Anti "Pay-for-Slay" Law - Israeli law stating that the PA payments to terrorists and the families of dead terrorists is a financial incentive to terror. The law instructs the state to deduct and freeze the amount of money the PA pays in salaries to imprisoned terrorists and families of "Martyrs" from the tax money Israel collects for the PA. Should the PA stop these payments for a full year, the Israeli government would have the option of giving all or part of the frozen money to the PA. The law was enacted by the Israeli Parliament on July 2, 2018, and its first implementation was approved by Israel's Security Cabinet on Feb. 17, 2019, when it decided to withhold 502,697,000 Israeli shekels (approximately $138 million) from the PA. In response, the PA announced it would not accept any of the tax money collected by Israel unless it also included the frozen amount. During the initial parliamentary vote in 2018, the law's sponsor Avi Dichter said: “The Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee received much help in its deliberations... from Palestinian Media Watch who provided us with authentic data that enabled productive and professional deliberations, nuances that are very difficult to achieve without precise data.” [Israeli Parliament website, July 2, 2018]