Published: Thu, June 15, 2017
Science | By Cecil Little

Palestinian National Authority to stop paying families of terrorists

The United States is weighing imposing sanctions on countries that do business with North Korea and looking for ways to revive strained relations with Russian Federation, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said on Tuesday.

Nabil Shaath, an advisor to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, said the Palestinians were surprised by Tillerson's remarks.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson prepares to testify on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, June 13, 2017, before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

"Those are, I would say, progressing in a positive way, but it is far too early in the process to say whether they're going to bear fruit", he said.

It was introduced amid an intense focus in the US capital on relations with Russian Federation, and investigations by the Department of Justice and congressional committees of whether Russian Federation sought to influence the 2016 USA elections to help elect Trump, and whether Trump associates colluded with Moscow as it sought to influence the election.

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"Israel is unaware of any change of Palestinian policy", said the second official.

"Whether it be a proposed 32 per cent cut to your department, which represents us in some of the most important forms in every country around the world; whether it be a decision to back out of the most important global agreement that has been entered into over the course of the last decade or whether it be this decision, whether it be deliberate or not, to keep assistant secretary and deputy secretary positions unstaffed for a longer time than any of us can remember in any previous administration", he said.

Mike Crapo, one of the sponsors of the legislation, says, "Americans are concerned about Russia's behavior in the Ukraine and Syria and they are concerned about Russia's increased cyber intrusions".

One former Israeli official told the Free Beacon that, contrary to Tillerson's initial claim, there is no evidence the Palestinians have ceased these payments.

"We would ask for the flexibility to turn the heat up when we need to, but also to ensure that we have the ability to maintain a constructive dialogue", he said.

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Senate move to increase sanctions against Moscow came "out of the blue" and were meant to "restrain Russian Federation ". Putin also said Russia's military industrial complex had benefited greatly from testing its latest weapons in Syria.

But Tillerson remained adamant when a U.S. lawmaker questioned him during another hearing Wednesday about his disputed claim.

"There will be no end to the payments", Issa Qaraqe, head of the Palestinian Committee of Prisoners' Affairs, told The Times of Israel. "As of this moment I have seen no cessation and no intention to stop paying the terrorists' families".

Its 2016 budget was $125 million, according to the website of the Palestinian Authority's Finance Ministry.

Israel continuously argues that their payments promote violence. Support for Palestinian prisoners and families of so-called martyrs enjoys wide consensus among the Palestinian public.

Half an hour later, however, Tillerson repeated his message from Tuesday and said that assurances from the Palestinian leadership on this issue "were given to me during the President's visit to Bethlehem".

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