USA to Sanction Countries with Illegal Deals with North Korea

Bruno Cirelli
Giugno 15, 2017

Both Israel and the Palestinian Authority say Tillerson's claim that the PA has changed its policy and will stop funding terror is unfounded.

But the PA moved quickly to counter Tillerson's claim.

"There have been talks about making the payments in a different way, but not ending them", said one official, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Mr. Tillerson told members of the House committee on Wednesday that the administration needs flexibility to "turn up the heat when we need to, but also to insure that we have the ability to maintain a constructive dialogue". He told senators that on his most recent trip to Bethlehem, the PA said the PLO would be revising their long-standing policy. They have indicated they would.

Mr. Tillerson previously has said the USA would maintain sanctions against Russian Federation until the Minsk agreements are fully implemented, and Washington and European allies have always been united in demanding so.

"President Trump raised his concerns about payments to Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails who have committed terrorist acts, and to their families, and emphasized the need to resolve this issue", the White House said at the time.

Qadare Fares, the head of the Palestinian Prisoners Club, an NGO that works with prisoners' families and organises payments, said he was not aware of any changes to the payments policy.

Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said he'd seen no signs the Palestinian Authority had changed its policy.

"This amendment also takes appropriate steps to ensure that current sanctions can not be unilaterally unwound by this administration", Shaheen said.

Tillerson said he'd replied that payments "as recognition of violence or murder" is unacceptable to Americans.

Tillerson's initial comments about Palestinian assurances were greeted with skepticism in Israel as well.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has been reluctant to halt the payments, fearing a popular backlash and increased support for the rival Islamist group Hamas.

According to its 2016 budget, the PA now pays 26,800 prisoner families the sum of $183 million per year. The terrorists held by Israel are "victims of Israel" and "the result of the occupation", he said.

Issa Karaka, head of prisoner affairs for the Palestinian Authority, told Haaretz that the payments have been made this month and will be made next month.

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