Bennett wants US to lean on Abbas to cut payments to terrorist’s father – report
Officials in the Prime Minister’s Office have reportedly called on the United States to pressure the Palestinian Authority and its leader Mahmoud Abbas to cut off payments to the father of the terrorist who carried out Thursday’s attack in Tel Aviv.
Ra’ad Hazem, a Palestinian from the West Bank, killed three people in a Tel Aviv bar before being killed in a shootout with Israeli forces.
Her father, Fathi, is a former security prisoner who previously served as an officer in the Palestinian Authority’s security services in Jenin, and therefore already receives an allowance from the PA.
He should also receive an additional allowance for the death of his son. Earlier on Friday, he hailed his son’s fatal shooting and encouraged more such acts.
“Your eyes will soon see victory. You will see the change. You will get your freedom… God, free Al-Aqsa Mosque from the desecration of the occupiers,” Fathi said, according to footage from the scene.
Channel 12 said Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s office contacted officials in the United States to pressure Abbas to reduce current and future payments to Fathi following the remarks.
Defense Minister Benny Gantz has also brought up payments to terrorists’ relatives in all of his recent meetings and calls with Abbas, the channel reported.
The Palestinian Authority’s practice of paying stipends to those convicted of carrying out terrorist attacks and to the families of those killed in those attacks – often referred to by some Israeli policymakers as a pay-to-kill policy – has been criticized. pilloried by critics as inciting terror.
Palestinian leaders have long defended the payments, describing them as a form of social protection and necessary compensation for victims of Israel’s military justice system in the West Bank.
The United States has pressured Ramallah to end this policy in recent years. In 2018, Congress passed a law banning the US government from sending aid to the PA until it ended the practice. The case remains a bone of contention between the two parties.
Channel 12 said Israel hopes the Biden administration will make it clear to Abbas that its condemnation of the attack is not enough and must be followed by action, from cuts in payments to aid to a possible Israeli offensive in Jenin to suppress terrorism emanating from the West Bank City.
However, officials are under no illusions that the pressure campaign will yield results, the channel said.
While Ramallah works closely with Israel to suppress Palestinian terror groups in the West Bank, Abbas rarely publicly denounces specific acts of violence. Opinion polls regularly reveal that large sections of Palestinian society see armed struggle as legitimate resistance to the Israeli regime.
The Tel Aviv shooting was the latest in a string of violent terror attacks in Israel that have killed 14 people in four separate deadly incidents.
On Friday, MK Gaby Lasky of the left-leaning Meretz party stirred up a wasp’s nest by justifying the PA’s terror payments.
She said the payments to the terrorists’ families were necessary to prevent the exploitation of women and children, before backtracking on the comment and apologizing.
Other coalition lawmakers, including Justice Minister Gideon Sa’ar, lambasted her for her comments.
The controversy and coalition infighting came as the government was on the brink. Yamina MP Idit Silman quit the coalition on Wednesday, stripping it of its parliamentary majority and making its collapse likely.