Palestinian Authority rejects 'insulting' US demand to stop paying detainees
The Palestinian Authority on Wednesday rejected a US demand to stop payments to detainees held in or freed from Israeli jails.
Israeli Channel 12 TV previously reported that the US administration asked the Palestinian Authority to stop offering welfare payments to detainees and recently released detainees and instead place the money in a "social welfare" fund.
The demand was reportedly made during a series of closed meetings between US officials and President Mahmoud Abbas.
In return the US promised Abbas that he could appoint a legal advisor to represent the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO) in the US, instead of reopening the PLO office which was closed by the administration of former US President Donald Trump.
However, Hassan Abd Rabbo, an official at the Palestinian Authority's Ministry of Detainee and Ex-Detainee Affairs, said that the PA had rebuffed the US proposal.
"They want to insult the struggle of the Palestinians through their suggestions," he was quoted as saying by the Saudi newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat.
Under the US proposal, the "social welfare" fund would be administered by the Ministry of Social Affairs and detainees over 60 would be paid as if they were retired employees, while those under 60 would be paid as government employees.
The payments issue was also discussed at a recent meeting between Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz and Abbas recently, Asharq Al-Awsat reported.
A Palestinian source told Israeli Channel 12 that Abbas knew he had to end the current system of payments to detainees in order to win US and Israeli favour and was looking for a way to pay detainees which would avoid disapproval either from the Palestinian public or from the US and Israel.
Israel currently holds over 4,000 Palestinians in its jails, hundreds of whom are held in "administrative detention" without charge or trial.