Palestinians turn to prisoner payments to reopen with Biden

Jerusalem — A bold move to redefine the dirty image in Washington, Palestinians lay the foundation for overhaul to one of their most important but controversial practices, officials say: violence. Compensate for those who spend time in Israeli prisons, including attacks.

The policy, which critics call “pay to kill,” ensures that their dependents are well-cared for as attackers, and is therefore given by Israel and its supporters as an incentive for terrorism. It has been criticized for a long time. And since payments are primarily based on the length of imprisonment, critics say the most vicious crimes are the most rewarding.

In bipartisan condemnation of the system, Congress repeatedly passed legislation to reduce aid to Palestinians by the amount of their payments. Payments were quoted when the Trump administration stopped funding from 2018 and took other disciplinary measures against Palestinians.

But now, Palestinian officials eager to make a fresh start in the upcoming Biden administration and roll back those disciplinary measures have repeatedly warned that payments would not be possible without an end. I’m listening to the advice of a good Democrat. For the new administration to do hard work on their behalf.

Kadori Abu Bakur, chairman of the Palestinian Authority’s Prisoner Affairs Committee, said the proposal in Ramallah was to the Palestinian prisoner’s family for their financial needs, not the time they were behind the bar. He said he would give benefits based on.

“Economic needs must serve as the basis,” Abu Bakur said in a telephone interview. “One man shouldn’t earn as much as someone with a family.”

The undisclosed plan is just the latest in the Palestinian attempt to restart international affairs. On Tuesday, they agreed to widespread diplomatic pressure and resumed cooperation with Israel on security and civil issues after a six-month boycott. And on Wednesday, they said they returned their messengers to the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain after they recalled them in protest of their country’s normalization agreement with Israel.

The details of the proposed changes to the prisoner’s payment system have not yet been finalized and require the approval of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, Abu Bakur said.

It is not yet clear whether unlinking payments from crime will satisfy the system’s strongest critics if payments to prisoners continue.

However, this proposal is almost certain to stir up fierce opposition from many Palestinians who have long worshiped prisoners as heroes and freedom fighters against the military occupation half a century ago.

Prisoner status may be the most emotionally appealed issue on the streets of Palestine. One of the biggest protests on the West Bank in recent years has been to support prisoners who went on a hunger strike in 2017. In May, Israeli military orders banned some Palestinian banks from distributing payments to prisoners’ families, and shooters fired at several branches of the bank.

Palestinians need to pay Israeli prisoners for decades, defend them as significant compensation for the unfair military judicial system, and provide income to families who have lost their major earners was.

Under the current system, the Palestinian Authority pays large benefits to prisoners who spend more time in prison with little consideration of the financial welfare of their families. For example, a person who spends 35 years in jail can earn thousands of dollars a month. Someone who has been in jail for four years may receive hundreds.

Former prisoners minister Ashraf Al Azirami said he fully hopes that the public will “get angry” at the proposed changes. But he admitted that the Palestinian Authority is eager to change the system at the cost of diplomatic sacrifice.

When asked about the plan, the inmate’s relatives expressed distrust and disgust.

“This is 100% unacceptable and shameful,” said Cassam Barguti, son of Marwan Barguti, who has been convicted of five murders by Israel and sentenced to multiple life imprisonments. I did.

“Prisoners are not a social welfare issue,” he added. “People receive more rewards for spending longer in prison to acknowledge their sacrifice. The longer you spend behind prison, the more your value to your society. Will grow. “

Officials also said they were planning to require released prisoners to take on public sector work. Abu Bakur said that many former prisoners are now paid a monthly pension for sitting idle.

“You shouldn’t pay people because you didn’t do anything,” he said, saying his committee had already distributed questionnaires to former prisoners about their work preferences. “They should work for them.”

Officials also said they were planning to overhaul payments to the families and others of the perpetrators killed by the Israelis. Authorities said Palestinians intend to begin linking these payments tightly to their financial needs, but details on how they do so remained unclear.

The details are important. The Israelis, who have been rushing to pay for years, said they would have to be confident that the changes were more than superficial.

“They finally realized they had to do something,” said Yossi Kuperwasser, a retired general of military intelligence, one of the most outspoken critics of payments. “That’s a good thing. But we need to be careful. I’m still suspicious.”

And some critics consider the prisoners to pay too much for their families.

“Terrorists need to know that when he participates in terrorism, he will not receive money from the Palestinian Authority because he was in Israeli prison,” said Abi Dickter, a member of Likud. ..

Since early last year, Israel has pressured Palestinians to stop paying by withholding some of the more than $ 100 million they collect each month on their behalf.

Talks aimed at ending the system for Palestinians were urgent about two months ago, some officials said. Nikolai Mladenov, the UN Special Envoy for the Middle East, was explained to have helped put pressure on Palestinians, along with Norwegian and German diplomats.

As Biden’s chances of victory began to increase, Washington think tanks organized numerous zoom calls with Palestinian officials. Government moves such as the reopening of the Palestinian diplomatic mission in Washington, where Mr. Trump closed.

Mr Biden and his running mate Kamala Harris have promised to regain at least some aid and reopen the diplomatic mission.

But as a practical matter, telephone participants “pay to kill” the Palestinians, who have little bandwidth for the Middle East and need to husband every bit of their political capital. It was abolished saying that it wouldn’t be possible to do much for them without it. Act of Congress requires that the system be reformed before much of the aid is restored.

A State Department official said the United States “strongly condemns the practice of the Palestinian Authority paying terrorists or their families and welcomes its immediate suspension.”

Nimrod Novik, a former aide to Prime Minister Shimon Peres and a longtime advocate of the two-state solution, said Palestinian leaders were quickly persuaded. However, they need to come up with a formula that will satisfy the scrutiny from both sides of the conflict and understand how to “put a bulletproof vest around” to withstand what was expected to be a reaction of anger from the Palestinians. The public.

Like others who are worried about public dissatisfaction, Mr. Novic has now questioned the wisdom of publicly discussing the proposal.

“The way to sell it is if it’s in a package,” Novic said in exchange for a concrete move by the upcoming Biden administration. “Now, as a down payment in good faith, it is isolated. When it comes to the public domain, it is paid.”

Lara Jakes contributed to the report from Washington.

Palestinians turn to prisoner payments to reopen with Biden

Source link Palestinians turn to prisoner payments to reopen with Biden

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