Palestinian minister confirms PA ploy to continue terrorist salaries
Director of PLO Commission of Prisoners’ Affairs, Issa Karake: "[Incorporating the Commission of Prisoners' Affairs] into the PLO may give [the prisoners' issue] new power and new momentum, even with the relations with the international community and with several parties that have attempted to exert pressure on the PA in recent years, claiming that the Palestinian government has been allocating some of its funds for the prisoners’ families. This is a result of Israeli pressure and Israeli propaganda, [which claims] these funds are being earmarked - of course, according to the claim of the Israelis and some countries - for the benefit of the families of the prisoners, whom they accuse of terrorism. There has been a lot of pressure. This issue must not be abandoned. It must not be subjected to the stipulations [of the international community] and the Israeli pressure..."
Interviewer: "Would you say this formal change, in quotation marks, was done or devised to avoid international pressure, which Israel pushed for?"
Karake: "[That’s] one of the reasons, yes. We’re speaking honestly. There was [international] pressure and a kind of war, an intense war, and monetary and financial threats towards the PA. The Palestinian leadership was subject to real pressure, but of course it refused to submit to all this pressure. We told them [international donors] it was a matter of freedom, a matter of fighter-prisoners, a matter of a national liberation movement, and so the idea that it would be part of the PLO was conceived... The Palestinian leadership, President Abbas and the members of the [PLO’s] Executive Committee confirmed that this change would in no way affect the importance and significance of the prisoners’ issue, neither in terms of politics and the struggle nor in terms of the services [provided to the prisoners]."
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