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PLO official defends practice of paying salaries to terrorists and their families, saying "it is our right to celebrate them"

Official PA TV program Giants of Endurance, on released prisoners in the Tulkarem district, hosting Director of PLO Commission of Prisoners’ Affairs Issa Karake

Director of PLO Commission of Prisoners’ Affairs Issa Karake: “This people greatly appreciates the prisoners for being prisoners of freedom, and this is a political message and response to the attack that the occupation authorities are carrying out against the Palestinian prisoners through racist laws and legislation and aggression against the prisoners’ rights, with the latest of them being the bill connected to holding or stealing the Palestinian tax money on the pretext of aid to the families of the prisoners, Martyrs (Shahids), and wounded (see note below –Ed.) . We are meeting- it is our right to visit them, it is our right to celebrate them, it is our right to rejoice with them after the release so that we will tell the world that the prisoners’ cause is a central cause and a basic cause. These prisoners are prisoners of freedom and legitimate fighters for the right to self-determination. They are not terrorists and they are not criminals as the Israeli occupation authorities keep claiming. Martyrs have fallen inside the prisons; prisoners, sick people, wounded, and t hose suffering from very serious illnesses have ascended to Heaven. They are witness to how the prisons have become a place of sowing death and sowing oppression among the Palestinian people. They are witness to many thousands of prisoners who have been arrested on a daily basis, the phenomenon of arrest has become a daily phenomenon – every day there are arrests. People have gone out and entered such that a quarter of the Palestinian people have entered the Israeli occupation’s prisons.”

Bill to deduct terror salaries from PA tax money - On Feb. 18, 2018, the Israeli Ministerial Committee for Legislation approved a bill proposed by the Israeli Ministry of Defense that would deduct the amount of money the PA pays imprisoned terrorists and families of "Martyrs" from the tax money Israel collects for the PA. The bill would enable the deducted money to be used for infrastructure benefitting all West Bank residents, compensation awarded to terror victims in lawsuits against the PA or individual terrorists, and projects aimed at eliminating terror.