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Abbas to Putin: Israel opened the Pilgrimage Road archaeological site to erase Jerusalem's Arab characteristics

Headline: “Presidents Abbas and Putin during a strategic conversation: The political solution is preferable for a just and permanent peace”

“[PA] President Mahmoud Abbas and Russian President Vladimir Putin held a long and in-depth telephone conversation yesterday, Friday [July 12, 2019]…

President Abbas explained to his Russian colleague about the crisis in the relations with Israel, and also about the daily violations, the latest of which was the excavation of a tunnel in order to change Jerusalem’s Arab characteristics (refers to the Pilgrimage Road archaeological site; see note below –Ed.). He also explained about the Palestinian money being seized (refers to Israel’s Anti “Pay-for-Slay” Law to deduct terror salaries; see note below –Ed.), which has put us into serious financial straits, along with the continued settlement and daily invasions.”

Pilgrimage Road – US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, US Envoy Jason Greenblatt, and US Senator Lindsey Graham took part in the inauguration ceremony of the Pilgrimage Road underground archaeological site, located south of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, on June 30, 2019. The excavated road was used by Jewish pilgrims visiting the Second Temple around the first century CE, and the Arab neighborhood of Silwan has since been built above it.

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. During the parliamentary vote, 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] In accordance with the law, as of September 2021 Israel’s Security Cabinet had ordered the freeze of 1.857 billion shekels ($580.15 million) - the sum equivalent to the PA payments to terrorists in 2018, 2019, and 2020.

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